IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1294 OF 2011
Reasons for Sentence
Charge and facts
1. Sometime between 16 and 17 June 2011, the defendant entered and stole from the tools room of Leisure Cultural Services Department(“LCSD”) office 3 electronic saws, each valued at about $4,000 in the off-duty time.
2. It was a single storeyed building situated on the ground floor of Signal Hill Garden, Minden Row, Tsimshatsui exclusively used byLCSD. The staff had secured all windows and doors before leaving. There was no watchman or CCTV. The staff returned the next dayonly to find one of the windows broken, the office ransacked and the tools room unlocked. Bloodstain was found on a knife and a metalfile. DNA examination confirmed the bloodstain to be the defendant’s.
3. On 4 October 2011, the defendant was arrested for burglary. He remained silent under caution.
Personal background and mitigation put forward
4. He is now 43 years of age, a Tanzanian by birth. He is pursuing a torture claim against the Hong Kong Immigration Department. He stays in Hong Kong as a litigant without any authority to get a job. He has a rental allowance of $1,200 per month and food supplyfor free.
5. He has 1 record for burglary in 2009. He was released in January 2011. He committed the present office as the rent had increasedby $400 per month since April 2011.
6. His solicitor informs me that he had broken into the premises by smashing the window bare-handed. It resulted in the injury ofhis small finger. Whilst inside, he found a knife to open a box. His blood got onto the knife and a metal file inside the box. The bloodstain eventually led to his being identified and arrested.
Sentencing guidelines for non-domestic premises
7. In R v Wong Man  1 HKC 80, the Court of Appeal suggests 2½ years as the starting point for non-domestic premises for a first offender of full age. HKSAR v Sim Ka-wing, CACC 450/2000 explains that it applies in the absence of aggravating factors.
Sentencing this Defendant
8. I take a starting point of 2½ years. I give a one-third discount for the plea of guilty. There are no other mitigating factors. The sentence is 20 months.