IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF APPEAL
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 487 OF 2000
(ON APPEAL FROM HCCC NO. 254 OF 2000)
Coram: Keith JA in Court
Date of Hearing: 12 April 2001
Date of Judgment: 12 April 2001
J U D G M E N T
1. The judge took as her starting point for sentence what the Applicant’s counsel had asked her to take, and she gave the Applicanta one-third discount for his confession to the police on his arrest and his plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity. Despite that,I propose to grant the Applicant leave to appeal against his sentence.
2. The mitigation on behalf of the Applicant was that he had bought the ice for his own consumption but that he was intending to givesome of it to his friends. That is what the Applicant had told the police at the time of his arrest. The judge referred to that inher sentencing remarks, but it is arguable that the starting point which she took was only the appropriate starting point if he hadbeen trafficking in all the ice.
3. Lam Kin Choi  2 HKCLR 235 is authority for the proposition that, because the Applicant pleaded guilty to trafficking in all the ice, he had to be sentencedon that basis. But if that is still good law, it is arguable that, in the light of the mitigation which could not be said to be inherentlyincredible, the judge should have treated the Applicant’s plea of guilty as equivocal, and it is arguable that if she was not goingto do so she should have sentenced the Applicant on the basis of his mitigation. Moreover, it is arguable that social traffickingin dangerous drugs should be punished less severely than commercial trafficking. That is a distinction well recognised in other jurisdictions:see, for example, Byrne  2 Cr. App. R. (S) 34 and Robertson  1 Cr. App. R. (S) 514.
Applicant in person.
Ms Anna Lai, of the Department of Justice, for the Respondent.