IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
1997, No. 349
Coram: Hon. Liu, J.A., Mayo and Stuart-Moore, JJ.A. in Court
Date of hearing: 2 December 1997
Date of delivery of judgment: 2 December 1997
J U D G M E N T
Mayo, J.A. (giving the judgment of the Court):
1. The Applicant pleaded guilty to assisting the passage within Hong Kong of unauthorised entrants contrary to S. 37(1)(a) of the Immigration Ordinance and was sentenced to three years 8 months’ imprisonment on 21st August 1996. He now seeks leave out of time to appeal against thissentence. No satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming for the delay in making the application.
2. So far as the merits of the proposed appeal are concerned, this is not a meritorious application. It was a bad case. According tothe agreed facts the Applicant accepted a payment of RMB 1,000 to transport six pregnant women from China to Hong Kong.
3. The Applicant, who had no previous nautical experience, was placed in charge of a motorized sampan which proceeded on the route indicatedon the plan attached to the bundle of appeal.
4. The sampan had no navigational lights although the journey was undertaken under cover of darkness.
5. Members of the marine police observed the sampan and were suspicious. When they approached it, the Applicant jumped overboard andattempted to escape leaving the women completely adrift. He was rescued by members of the marine police.
6. To say the least of it this was a highly hazardous operation and there appears to have been little or no regard for the women’s safety.
7. Understandably H.H. Judge Beeson took a serious view of the case. She adopted a starting point of 5½ years’ imprisonment and gavethe Applicant the usual 1/3 discount for his plea.
8. Even if this application had been made within the prescribed time limit, it would have had no prospect whatever of success. The applicationfor leave to appeal out of time is dismissed.
9. At the commencement of the hearing, we warned the Applicant of the possibility that we might order some of the time he has servednot to count towards his sentence if we considered the application to be wholly unmeritorious.
10. We do consider the application to be wholly unmeritorious and order 3 months of the time already served should not count towardshis sentence.
Mr. D.G. Saw, S.C. SADPP leading Miss Anna Lai, SGC (D.P.P.) for Respondent
Li Hon Chuen, Applicant in person