CRIMINAL CASE NO. 71 OF 2009
COURT: Liu Ka-wai, you will be aware that trafficking in any form of dangerous drugs is, rightly, considered a very serious offencein Hong Kong. It is such a serious offence that the Legislature has set a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for it.
Your counsel, Mr Ho, who is very experienced, will have told you that the Court of Appeal have set guidelines for all judges as tohow we should sentence people who traffic in dangerous drugs. He also will have told you that there are particular guidelines applicableto ketamine, the drug that you trafficked in in this case.
I am obliged to follow those guidelines unless there are strong reasons for me not to do so and I have to tell you that there areno strong reasons in your case for me to depart from them.
I notice that you have a short criminal record and that includes an offence of possession of dangerous drugs. I am making it clearthat I am not aggravating or increasing your sentence because you have previous convictions.
I have taken note of the letter that you have put before the court and the letter that your mother has put before the court and Isay that you are lucky to have a supportive mother.
However, your only mitigation lies in the fact that you co-operated with the Customs & Excise officers and that you pleaded guiltyto this offence at the earliest possible opportunity in the Magistrates Court. Not only does that indicate realism on your part,it also indicates a degree of remorse. It is well established that people who admit their guilt are entitled to a substantial discountin the sentence they would otherwise have received had they taken the matter to trial and been convicted by a jury.
Following the guidelines I have already spoken of, had you taken this matter for trial, had you been convicted by a jury, I wouldhave had in mind a sentence in the region of 7½ years’ imprisonment for you. That would have been the appropriate sentence fora man such as yourself who trafficked in over 200 grammes of ketamine.
However, because of your plea of guilty, I am reducing that sentence by one-third to a sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and that,therefore, is the sentence that I now pass on you – 5 years’ imprisonment.