IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 684 OF 1998
(On appeal from SPC 3525 of 1998)
Coram : Deputy Judge Lugar-Mawson in Court
Date of hearing : 16 December 1998
Date of judgment : 16 December 1998
J U D G M E N T
1. Mr LIU, I would like to be in a position to help you if the law permitted me to do so.
2. I accept that when you drove the car you only had three days of your disqualification to go. I accept, from what you have told me,that your wife was ill and suffered from a fainting attack, that she is anaemic, and that she needed to go to hospital. Althoughyou committed a criminal offence in driving her there, had you been caught with your wife in the car, with her suffering as she was,that might have been a reason for the magistrate not to order your disqualification.
3. But the facts of this case are that you got your wife to hospital and got her into the hands of the doctors. Then you started todrive the car back and that is when you were caught. What you should have done, was to either abandon the car at the hospital, orask somebody to drive and park it for you in a safe place, rather than attempt to drive it back.
Although the act of driving to the hospital with your wife might be excusable and might be regarded as a special reason, the emergencyhad passed by the time your wife had been taken into the hospital.
4. When I look at the law, I find that although the magistrate and I have power to order a period of disqualification of less than 12months if there are special reasons, the special reasons passed the moment your wife was safe at the hospital. The law obliged themagistrate under those circumstances to disqualify you for at least 12 months. I am just as much bound by the law as the magistrateis. I can’t change that period, only the Legislative Council can. So, although I would like to help you, I can’t. If I had powerto order a shorter period of disqualification, I think I would have done, but I have no power at law to do so.
5. I appreciate your difficulties, Mr LIU, but the fact is you shouldn’t have attempted to have driven the car back from the hospital.Really, you shouldn’t have attempted to drive there in the first place. You should have phoned for an ambulance or looked for a taxi.But I realise when a man’s wife is ill, common sense goes out of the window, and probably rightly so. There’s no moral blame to beattached to you, but I am afraid you’re caught by the provisions of the law. I am afraid I have to dismiss your appeal.
Mr Gary LAM, Government Counsel, for HKSAR
Mr LIU Chung-kan, the Appellant, in Person