IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1243 OF 2008
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant pleads guilty to the amended charge of possession of dangerous drugs.
2. At about 6.32 pm on 4 October 2008, police intercepted defendant at the 3rd floor staircase of a building at Tsuen Wan. Policefound three resealable bags of ketamine from his shorts pocket. Defendant told police that he had bought the drugs from an unknownmale at 2 am that day at a disco at Tsim Sha Tsui for HK$1,500. He said he bought the drugs for his own consumption. The drugs were22.35 grammes of a powder containing 18.83 grammes of ketamine.
3. Defendant has a clear record. He was born on 5 May 1988. He is 21 years and 2 months old. When he was arrested in October 2008,he was about 20 years and 4 months old. Defence counsel in mitigation says defendant had been on ketamine for some months. He nowrealizes his problem and is determined to come off it. He has family support.
4. Counsel produces three letters written by defendant’s family members and a District Council member. All plead for defendant’sleniency.
5. According to Cap 134, section 54A, I must call for a DATC report before sentencing defendant. The report comes back with recommendationthat defendant is suitable for admission to DATC. Counsel tells me that defendant is willing to go to DATC for rehabilitation andhe urges me to adopt the recommendation in that report.
6. Possessing such a quantity of ketamine is nevertheless a serious offence. Yet when the law says DATC report must be called forfirst, the law must be saying that in such a case the court must try to put rehabilitation ahead of punishment in dealing with defendant.Such a defendant should be sent to DATC if he is suitable for admission unless there are other compelling reasons for not doing so.
7. Taking into consideration of what the Court of Appeal says in CACC59/2009, if a term of imprisonment were to be imposed againstdefendant in this case in the circumstances, he would be imprisoned for about 13 months for his plea of guilty, taking everythinginto consideration including any latent risk factor. So my options are either to send the defendant to prison for that long or tosend him to DATC, which his counsel says defendant is willing to go to.
8. Defendant is a young man. This is the first time he has been ever convicted by a court of law. The report says he is suitable foradmission to DATC. All the circumstances suggest that a period of supervision and rehabilitation training would be conducive to hisbenefit and to that of the community as a whole. So I order defendant to be sent to DATC with conviction recorded.
(Court’s warning to defendant)