IN THE HIGH COURT OF HONG KONG
MAGISTRACY CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 990 OF 1997
Coram : The Hon. Madam Justice Beeson in Court
Date of Hearing : 10 February 1998
Date of Delivery of Judgment : 10 February 1998
J U D G M E N T
1. The Appellant appeals against a sentence of 15 months imposed on her for an offence of simple possession of dangerous drugs. Thequantity of dangerous drugs involved was 27.67 grams of a mixture, containing heroin hydrochloride containing 15.68 grams. The Appellantwas stopped and searched in the street by police who found this quantity of heroin in her handbag.
2. The Magistrate obtained as he was required to do a Drug Addiction Treatment Centre report; this set out the personal circumstancesof the Appellant who had a number of serious drug convictions including one for Trafficking in 1996. Counsel today has commentedthat the magistrate may have taken too much notice of irrelevant or possibly prejudicial comment in the Drug Addiction TreatmentCentre report. I must say that magistrates see Drug Addiction Treatment Centre reports all the time and I have no doubt that thisexperienced magistrate had no difficulty in ignoring the comment that was not relevant to his sentence. In any event, even withoutthe Drug Addiction Treatment Centre report, it was quite clear from the criminal record that this woman had a long and serious historyof involvement with drugs.
3. In those circumstances, the magistrate adopted what I consider to be a lenient starting point in this case of 2 years, he gave areduction of not quite one-third for a plea, taking into account as he was entitled to do the fact that this plea was rather latein the day and not the first opportunity. He then made a further reduction of 3 months for assistance which the Appellant gave theresults of which were not known in full at that time. Those results are now known and have been made known to me. For that reason,I interfere with the sentence to this extent, that I reduce it by a further 3 months making a total of 12 months’ imprisonment.
4. I must make it quite plain that otherwise I consider this sentence entirely appropriate.
Mr. Johnny Chan, S.G.C. for D.P.P.
Ms Corinne Remedios, instructed by D.L.A. for Appellant – Lau Fuk Hing