HKSAR v. SZETO CHI WAI

HCMA001009/2000

HCMA 1009/2000

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 1009 OF 2000

(ON APPEAL FROM EASTERN MAGISTRACY
NO. ESCC 2858 OF 2000)

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BETWEEN
HKSAR Respondent
AND
SZETO CHI WAI Appellant

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Coram: Hon Jackson J in Court

Date of Hearing: 21 December 2000

Date of Judgment: 21 December 2000

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J U D G M E N T

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1. On 10 August of this year the Appellant was convicted at Eastern Magistracy of an offence of possessing traces of the dangerous drugheroin. Those traces were found in a cigarette in his possession. The Appellant served a notice of appeal against conviction.

2. This morning he appears before me in person and it is quite plain to me upon enquiry of him that he does not wish to appeal againstconviction, but against his sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment. Accordingly I dismiss the appeal against conviction and grant theAppellant leave to appeal out of time against his sentence.

3. The learned Magistrate in imposing the sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment for this offence (which as I say concerned no more andno less than traces of heroin) ordered that two months of the term of 6 months be served concurrently with a suspended sentence of6 months which was activated upon his conviction for the present offence. In other words, the Appellant was ordered to serve a totalof 10 months’ imprisonment.

4. The Appellant complains to me this morning that that term of 10 months’ imprisonment is excessive, and he invites me amongst otherthings, to make the 6 month sentence of imprisonment wholly concurrent with the activated suspended sentence of 6 months.

5. The Appellant has over 64 previous convictions going back nearly 40 years but those convictions are for relatively petty offences.He has only occasionally served sentences of imprisonment and those sentences have been short.

6. More particularly in the last 10 years he was sent to a drug addiction treatment centre in 1990: he was sent to prison for a termof one month in 1995. And he was sentenced to a term of 6 months’ imprisonment in 1998.

7. It is in the light of that background that I have considered the question of totality. And having done so I have come to the viewthat it would be just in this case to allow that appeal against sentence to a very limited extent. I will not interfere with theterm of 6 months’ imprisonment imposed for this offence, but 3 months (not 2 months) of that sentence will be served concurrentlywith the activated suspended sentence. In other words, in total he will serve 9 months’ imprisonment instead of 10 months.

(C G Jackson)
Judge of the Court of First Instance
High Court

Representation:

Miss Catherine Ko, SGC, for the Respondent, DPP

Mr SEZTO Chi-wai, Appellant in person