IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 171 OF 2009
Transcript of the Audio Recording
COURT: Defendant, you have pleaded guilty to a single charge of unlawfully trafficking in a dangerous drug, namely, 772.05 grammesof a mixture containing 505.35 grammes of heroin hydrochloride, contrary to section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap. 134, Laws of Hong Kong.
The Summary of Facts, which you have admitted, is extremely straightforward and indicates that when you arrived at Hong KongInternational Airport on 30 June last year, from a flight from Nepal, a search of your person discovered some 65 packets of drugsbeing the subject matter of the charge.
You are a Kenyan national, I am told 38 years of age, married and have a 9-year-old son back in Kenya. You also have a baby now of10 months of age, who was born to you whilst you have been in custody, as you were pregnant when you arrived in Hong Kong.
You have no previous convictions and I am told succumbed to the temptation of committing this particular offence as you come froma poor family and were offered US$4,000 for delivering the drugs into Hong Kong. In addition to this, I am told that you wantedto avail yourself of the medical facilities in Hong Kong in relation to your pregnancy.
For trafficking in quantities of heroin of between 400 to 600 grammes, the sentencing guidelines call for a starting point ofbetween 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment. Despite the fact that you fall almost exactly between the lower and upper limits, I am askedby your counsel to consider a starting point at the very lowest end of 15 years’ imprisonment.
I have considered this but I decline to do so. Whilst these guidelines, I accept, are not straitjackets, they are there to maintainconsistency in sentencing drug-traffickers and that consistency is very much dependent upon the weight of the drugs involved.
Indeed, one of the matters that I am asked to take account of in adopting a lower starting point is the fact that you have a newbornbaby and a lengthy prison sentence would inevitably mean that you will be separated from your son for a long time. Whilst that isthe case, I cannot lose sight of the fact that one of the reasons that you decided to take up the offer of delivering these drugsto Hong Kong was the very fact of your pregnancy.
In sentencing you, I take into account all that has been said on your behalf by Mr Whitehouse. However, I adopt a starting pointof 17½ years’ imprisonment. This will be discounted by one-third to take account of your plea of guilty which, in my view, isthe only proper mitigating feature in your case, arriving at a sentence of 11 years and 8 months’ imprisonment.