HKSAR v. CHEUNG CHI WAI

DCCC1068/2010

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1068 OF 2010

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HKSAR
v.
Cheung Chi-wai

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Before:

Deputy District Judge H.F. Woo

Date:

29 October 2010 at 12.15 pm

Present:

Mr Andy Lau Hoo-yin, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Lee Kwan-wing, of Lee & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence:

Attempted robbery (企圖搶劫罪)

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Reasons for Sentence

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The Charge

1. The defendant pleaded guilty to a count of attempted robbery, contrary to section 10 of the Theft Ordinance, Chapter 210, and section 159G of the Crimes Ordinance, Chapter 200.

The Facts

2. The facts of the case are as follows:-

On 9 August 2010 at about 6 pm, a 49-year-old victim was sitting at the sitting-out area at Hung Ling Street of Hunghom, Kowloon. The defendant approached and demanded her to take out all her money. The victim was frightened and tried to walk away. The defendantthen grasped the victim’s hair and again demanded her to take out all her money. The victim kicked the defendant and cried forhelp. The defendant then fled and ran up a footbridge.

3. Two police officers were patrolling near the said area and heard someone crying for help. They ran up the footbridge and saw thedefendant running towards them. They then intercepted the defendant.

4. The victim identified the defendant as the person who tried to rob her. The defendant was arrested, and under caution, he admittedthat he did not have a job and he just wanted to get money from the victim for beer. Whilst doing so, he grasped the victim’shair.

The Defendant’s Background and Mitigation

5. The defendant is 49 years old and married. He claimed that he lost his job as a civil servant in year 2000. But this is not acceptedby the court. As early as in 1983, he had his first conviction record. Two years later, he was sent to prison for committing unlawfulwounding. In 1991, he was convicted of theft again. Persons with criminal record of this nature would be most unlikely to becomea civil servant.

6. In the antecedent statement of the defendant, it was revealed that the defendant was a delivery man in the past. The defendantwas suffering from depression and was an alcoholic. He was not a CSSA recipient. Although he was married with two children, helived alone. The defendant was last convicted of robbery in Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts in December 2009 and was sentencedto 12 months’ imprisonment. He was released on 5 August 2010. Four days later, on 9 August 2010, he committed another offenceof robbery, the subject matter of the present case.

7. The defence claimed that the defendant was emotionally depressed and was in financial difficulty. Despite the fact that he wasphysically detained in the prison for over seven months, he was still suffering from alcoholism at the time of release. As he wascraving for alcohol during the material time, he tried to obtain money from the victim by robbing her. Apparently, imprisonmentpunishment did not serve as an effective deterrent sentence on the defendant. He had not learnt any lesson after he was sent toprison for his previous robbery case, as upon his release in August 2010 and within four days’ time, he committed another robberyoffence. Apart from his guilty plea, this court sees no remorse from him.

Tariff of Sentence

8. The Court of Appeal in HKSAR v Ting Chiu & Another [2003] 3 HKLRD 378 held that a starting point of 4 years was considered to be at the top end of the tariff for robberies where weapons were not displayedor used. However, each case would depend upon its circumstances.

9. In this case, the defendant only faced with a single offence of robbery. He was a lone robber. There was no severe force usedagainst the victim. No financial loss was incurred nor property stolen from the victim. The offence took place at 6 pm in the evening. There was no evidence that the offence was a premeditated one.

Sentence

10. Having fully considered all the circumstances, including the background of the case and of the defendant, the mitigation submittedand the guilty plea, this court considers the proper starting point for the present case would be 3 years’ imprisonment. An usualone-third discount would then be given for his guilty plea. There were no other factors in this case which would justify a furtherreduction in sentence. The sentence to be served by the defendant is 2 years’ imprisonment.

H F Woo
Deputy District Judge