HKSAR v. SUAREZ CHACON RAUL

CACC000483/1998

CACC 483/98

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 483 OF 1998

(ON APPEAL FROM HC 378 OF 1997)

BETWEEN
HKSAR Respondent
AND
Suarez Chacon Raul Applicant

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Coram: Hon Power, VP, Liu & Rogers, JJA in Court

Date of Hearing: 16 April 1999

Date of Judgment: 16 April 1999

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J U D G M E N T

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Liu, JA:

1. This is a straightforward case in which the applicant was apprehended at the Customs Arrival Hall on 28 May 1997 for the substancehe carried. He was subsequently charged with trafficking in a dangerous drug. The quantity involved was 6,105.22 grammes of a mixturecontaining 4,902.20 grammes of cocaine hydrochloride. He came before Mr Recorder Ronny Wong, S.C. and on his own plea, he was convictedon 15 October 1997. He was sentenced in 1998 to a term of imprisonment of 17 years. The applicant feels aggrieved and this is hisapplication for leave to appeal against sentence.

2. It is submitted that no proper discount for plea was given, nor was he given a further discount for his cooperation with the police.On his behalf it is pressed upon us that since he offered to assist the police and gave material information upon his arrest, theadditional feature is his immediate cooperation, resulting in the arrest and conviction of his Hong Kong contact.

3. We have had the benefit of the skeleton arguments of counsel, noting the cases he has cited for our consideration. For his plea andthe contribution he made to the police action taken against the Hong Kong contact, the usual total discount is 50% and in the circumstancesof this case, we would regard a 50% discount as appropriate.

4. The starting point adopted by the judge for his sentencing was 23 years. That is not a matter in dispute. The judge reduced it to17 years, but 50% of 23 years should be only 11 1/2 years, and that is the term he should serve. We allow his application, grantleave and treat his application as the appeal proper. We allow the appeal, set aside the sentence imposed upon the appellant by thejudge and substitute therefor a term of 11 1/2 years. The appellant is, therefore, to serve 11 1/2 years instead of 17 years. Weso order.

(N P Power) (B Liu) (Anthony Rogers)
Vice-President of the
Court of Appeal of the
High court
Justice of Appeal of the
Court of Appeal of the
High Court
Justice of Appeal of the
Court of Appeal of the
High Court

Representation:

Mr Bruce S.C. leading Ms Anthea Pang, S.C. (DPP) for Respondent.

Mr Paul Loughran assigned by the Director of Legal Aid for Applicant.