COURT: I have to sentence you for trafficking in a dangerous drug.
On 7 January of this year police came to your home and they found there 42.88 grammes of heroin and 12.04 grammes of methamphetamine,they also found a device for the consumption of the methamphetamine.
You told the police that you were going to traffic in the heroin and that the “ice” was basically for your own use, although youmight and had in fact parted with some to friends in a social trafficking scenario whereby you did not charge them.
In mitigation today it is urged that a small part of the heroin would have been for your own consumption as well and in all of thecircumstances of the case I am minded to act on that mitigation.
You will be aware that sentencing for drugs in Hong Kong is based upon guidelines which are based upon the nature of the drugs. Yourcounsel urges me to add the two drugs together, giving a total sum of 54 grammes. Given the guidelines, whether one calls that heroinor “ice”, the starting point for sentence for such an amount is in the region of 8 years’ imprisonment after trial.
I have to remember too that you have previous convictions for trafficking in a dangerous drug. You served a total of 5 and a halfyears’ imprisonment; the sentence was passed on 7 April of 2004.
In the circumstances of the case as whole, on these particular facts, your counsel urges me to give you a 10 percent discount forthe element of self-consumption. I am willing to do that.
Following the strict mathematics, that would give a starting point of some 7 years and 2 months, which after a one-third discountwould give a sentence of 4 years and 9 months’ imprisonment.
I find that approach a little too mathematical for my liking, but I am not going to go behind it. I think probably the right sentenceis one of 5 years, but I am not going to increase that 4 years and 9 months to 5 years in the circumstances.
You have been an addict since you were 15. The history of your life is one cursed by drugs and it amply demonstrates the evils ofserious drug addiction. You are a mother. You have looked after two children. Happily, the son seems to be doing well, but I do understandhow the circumstances that affect your daughter will make imprisonment the more poignant for you, so I will leave the sentence asthe one that your counsel urges to me on his mathematical basis of 4 years and 9 months. It is, in my judgment, the least sentenceyou could hope for and it is one designed to be merciful.
The sentence is 4 years and 9 months’ imprisonment.