IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
CRIMINAL CASE NO 68 OF 2015
Transcript of the Audio Recording
COURT: I am not going to keep you in suspense. You are going to prison for 5 years. You have to be sentenced on the basisthat you are a relatively low-level dealer in ketamine. You claimed to the police that you only sold it to your friends,but that is not a good reason for giving you a lighter sentence. And, anyway, it depends what you mean by your friends. Whenlow-level dealers refer to their friends they usually mean the people they know as their customers.
I do not overlook the fact that at the time of your arrest you were using about a gramme of ketamine a day for yourself. But evenif you had been dealing in ketamine to fund your own use of it, that would not have justified a lighter sentence. And, in any event,you say that you were dealing in it to support your daughter. As it is, the amount of ketamine found in your possession suggeststhat only a very small part of it was for your own consumption. I therefore deal with you on the basis that you were intending tosell almost all of it.
You would have been told that the Court of Appeal has laid down guidelines for the appropriate sentence for people who traffic inketamine. The guidelines are based on the amount of ketamine involved, though the court does not look at the weight of the ketamineas a whole. It focuses on the narcotic content of the ketamine. The weight of the narcotic content of the ketamine in your case was203 grammes. The guidelines say that the appropriate range for someone who is convicted of trafficking in ketamine between 50 and300 grammes after pleading not guilty is from 6 to 9 years’ imprisonment.
You are the classic small-time dealer in ketamine contemplated by the guidelines and there is no reason for departing from the guidelinesin your case.
In the light of the nature of your trafficking and the amount of ketamine you had with you to sell, I propose to take 7½ years’imprisonment as my starting point. I don’t propose to treat your relatively modest criminal record as an aggravating factor, andI bear in mind that this will be your first actual sentence of imprisonment, although you had previously experienced life behindbars when you were on remand.
I also bear in mind the difficulties you claim to have had in finding work, as well as your claim to want to put your past behindyou, but those are things which apply to many others. You are entitled though to have your sentence reduced by one-third becauseof your plea of guilty, even though it was only a few days ago that you said you were going to plead guilty. That means that thesentence which I pass on the one count in the indictment, that of trafficking in ketamine, is 5 years’ imprisonment.