IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 535 OF 2009
Before: H H Judge Tallentire
Date: 19 October 2009 at 10.30 am
Offence: Possession of a dangerous drug (管有危險藥物)
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant, you pleaded guilty to a single offence of possession of dangerous drugs, contrary to section 8(1)(a) and (2) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap.134.
2. You admitted the brief facts and I convicted you.
3. The facts were as follows.
4. At around 2.45 pm, a police officer, PW1, saw you wandering around outside a 7-Eleven Convenience Store at Kwong Yuen Estate, ShatinShopping Centre. You were acting furtively, so he and his colleague intercepted you.
5. Upon searching you, PW1 found a plastic bag containing two resealable plastic bags with suspected dangerous drugs in the front leftpocket of your jeans. You were arrested and cautioned. You asked for a chance.
6. Subsequent analysis revealed the dangerous drugs to be 26.44 grammes of powder containing 22.12 grammes of ketamine.
7. Later that day you were interviewed under caution and, inter alia, you said you bought the dangerous drugs from a male named MuiJai in Mongkok at about 12 noon for $1,600. You said the drugs were for your own consumption, you had been addicted since 2008 andtook 1½ grammes a day.
8. You have no previous convictions.
9. As you know, I had adjourned the case until today for the preparation of a Probation Officer’s Background Report, a DATC Reportand a Detention Centre Report.
10. Those reports are now before me. I understand that you agree with the contents of those reports.
11. You are not deemed to be an addict, therefore DATC is not appropriate nor recommended. However, you are found to be suitable andrecommended for Detention Centre.
12. On your behalf, Miss Tsang entered mitigation. Part of that mitigation was the production of three letters, one written by yourself,one by your mother and one by your employer.
13. I have taken those letters into account, especially that of your employer. Clearly, you are regarded as a good and essential employee.
14. On your behalf, Miss Tsang stressed your clear record and your plea of guilty. She, too, referred to your good work performance. She also referred to the problems the family have encountered which may have led to you being lacking in supervision. She askedme not to impose a Detention Centre Order which would entail incarceration for at least 9 months, but to adjourn further for a CommunityService Organiser’s Report. In the alternative, she asked for a short period of incarceration.
15. I turn now to the sentence.
16. You have pleaded guilty to possession of a substantial quantity of ketamine, over 22 grammes. I fully recognise the nature of thatcharge and you will not be sentenced for trafficking. However, the courts do recognise that such a substantial amount of drugs beingat large does pose a risk, which has been referred to as a latent risk.
17. I have to tell you that I do reject outright any possibility of considering a Community Service Order. This charge is simply tooserious for that. In my opinion, a Community Service Order is wholly unrealistic.
18. I do take into account your clear record, and I note that you are not considered to be a drug addict. In some ways, this rendersthe matter more serious, the implication being that your illegal possession of the dangerous drugs is by your own choice and foryour own gratification rather than being driven by your addiction.
19. I do agree that a Detention Centre Order is not correct in principle in this case. I therefore intend to impose a prison sentence.
20. I take all factors that I have mentioned into account, including the fact of your youth.
21. I have to tell you that I have taken a slightly enhanced starting point in view of the large quantity of drugs involved in this case. That starting point is one of 21 months’ imprisonment. You have pleaded guilty and you are entitled to a full discount. Youwill therefore go to prison for 14 months.