IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO 855 OF 2014
REASONS FOR SENTENCE
1. The defendant has been found guilty after trial of a charge of “Trafficking in dangerous drugs”, contrary to section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap 134. The narcotics contents are 4.10 grammes of mixture containing 2.43 grammes of heroin hydrochloride and 2.95 grammes ofcrystalline solid containing 2.82 grammes of methamphetamine hydrochloride, “ICE”.
Facts of the case
2. The detailed facts can be found in my reasons for verdict delivered on 14 August 2015. Broadly put, the defendant was found inpossession of the dangerous drugs as particularized in the charge whilst she was being stopped by police officers at the rear laneof Hoi Hing Building in Mongkok. The operation was not planned beforehand, for the police were there to investigate a report ofunlawful detention and/or missing person.
3. The sentencing of the defendant was adjourned to today so that I could enlist the assistance of both the prosecution and the defence. This morning I have received Mr Yu’s written submissions on mitigation together with the relevant authorities. I am grateful for his input. Mr Sherry for the prosecution agrees that the submissionsare correct insofar as the sentencing principles are concerned, which I shall turn to in due course.
4. Concerning the defendant’s background, Mr Yu submits that he has not much to say. From her criminal record it could be easilydiscerned that her life has been troubled by drugs, during which she has numerous possession and trafficking convictions. The onlything to her credit, so Mr Yu says, is that her last conviction dates back to 2009, which means she had at least tried to stay outof reach of criminal activities. Finally, Mr Yu asks the court to be as lenient as possible, for the majority of the drugs seizedwere for her own consumption.
5. Mr Yu has said all that could possibly be said on behalf of the defendant. Before sentencing her I have carefully considered allthe circumstances of the case and the relevant legal principles.
6. First of all, I accept Mr Yu’s submissions at paragraphs 7 – 9 that if I treat all the drugs as heroin, the starting point wouldbe 42 months imprisonment. If, on the other hand, I treat all the drugs as ICE, then the starting point would be 61 months. Forthe present case, I consider the proportion of the two drugs as 50:50, so the appropriate starting point should be 52 months. This in my judgment represents the application of the “combined approach”.
7. As to the discount for self-consumption, I also accept Mr Yu’s submissions that 20% should be given based on the evidence adducedbefore me at the trial. After making such discount the end result would be 42 months. I would give no further discount for sharing the drugs with her friend Ah Lai, as there is clear authority suggesting that no distinctionshould ever be drawn between commercial and social trafficking.
8. I impose a sentence of 42 months on the defendant.