HKSAR v. MOHAMMAD SALIM

HCMA001321/2000

HCMA1321/2000

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

(Appellate Jurisdiction)

MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO.1321 OF 2000

(ON APPEAL FROM NKCC 6603 OF 2000)

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BETWEEN
HKSAR Respondent
AND
MOHAMMAD SALIM Appellant

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Coram: Hon Gall J in Court

Dates of Hearing: 24 April, 16 May and 15 June 2001

Date of Judgment: 15 June 2001

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J U D G M E N T

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1. The appellant was convicted on 20 November 2000 of one count of possession of a forged identity card. He was sentenced to 15 months’imprisonment.

2. The facts which he agreed when he entered the plea of guilty were that at about midday on 18 October 2000, he was seen acting ina furtive manner. He was stopped and asked to produce proof of identity for inspection. He produced what purported to be an identitycard. The police suspected it was forged and arrested him. He was interviewed by the officers. He said that he arrived in Hong Kongby plane sometime in September 2000 and was robbed. His passport being taken. Later time, he said he met a compatriot and obtainedthe identity card which he had shown the police. Government Laboratory confirmed that it was forged and the accused was brought tocourt on this count.

3. The magistrate very properly considered all the authorities in respect of this type of offence and arrived at what was a proper sentencefor the offence charged. The magistrate cannot be faulted in anyway whatsoever.

4. The sole ground of appeal is that since coming to Hong Kong, the mother of the appellant has passed away and she was the person inwhose care the appellant had left his two small children. He has, in support of his allegation of her death, supplied me with a letterfrom a doctor in Pakistan dated 1 December 2000, certifying as to her death; a letter from a neighbour in April 2001, saying thathe was no longer able to look after the two young children and a photograph showing the children with their deceased grandmother.

5. The appellant’s wife died in 2000 giving birth to a child which was a matter the appellant said led him to come to Hong Kong in thefirst place. I have caused enquiries to be made through Interpol in Pakistan to ascertain the circumstances but notwithstanding twolengthy adjournments, no information has been forthcoming.

6. There is a series of authorities which entitle a judge in cases such as this to take into consideration humanitarian grounds. Itis rarely done. However, given that the appellant had served a considerable portion of his sentence and given that the authoritiesin Pakistan seem unable within a reasonable time to furnish the information required, I am prepared upon humanitarian grounds onlyto allow this appeal to the extent that the sentence is varied to permit immediate release.

(T.M. Gall)
Judge of the Court of First Instance,
High Court

Representation:

Miss Ada Chan, GC of Department of Justice, for HKSAR (24 April 2001)

Miss Catherine Ko, SGC of Department of Justice, for HKSAR (16 May and 15 June 2001)

Appellant in person, present