IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 862 OF 1998
(On appeal from SPC3917 of 1998)
Coram : Deputy Judge Lugar-Mawson in Court
Date of hearing : 17 December 1998
Date of judgment : 17 December 1998
J U D G M E N T
1. The Appellant, LAU Kan, appeared before Mr David Duggan, Principal Magistrate at San Po Kong Magistracy on 21 July of this year,when he admitted a charge of possession of dangerous drugs. He had with him on arrest a small quantity of dangerous drugs – heroin- as a mixture it weighed 0.21 grammes, with 0.16 of heroin in the mixture.
2. The Appellant is now in his early 50s, he has a long string of convictions for possession of dangerous drugs dating back to 1976.He pleaded guilty before the learned magistrate. He was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment and now complains that the length ofthat sentence is far too long.
3. Mr Duggan was well aware of the sentencing policy established by the Court of Appeal, that those who possess dangerous drugs shouldexpect to be sent to prison, for meaningful periods of time. For a man with this Appellant’s criminal record for abuse of dangerousdrugs, even though the amount he possessed was small – probably no more than one “fix” – I cannot say that a period of imprisonmentof 9 months is in any way manifestly excessive.
4. It would appear that Mr Duggan took into account the Appellant’s plea of guilty, because he took a starting point of 12 months’ imprisonmentand reduced it by one quarter. He did not reduce it by any more than one quarter, because in his opinion the appellant had entereda late plea. Mr Duggan in no way departed from principle in doing that. In the circumstances the Appellant was not entitled to aone third discount from the 12 months.
5. The Appellant’s appeal against sentence is dismissed.
Mr Eddie Sean, Senior Government Counsel, and Mr Richard MA, Government Counsel, for Respondent
Mr LAU Kan, the Appellant, in person