HKSAR v. WONG WAN CHU

HCMA000785/1998

HCMA 785/98

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 785 OF 1998

BETWEEN
HKSAR Respondent
AND
WONG WAN CHU Appellant

Coram : Deputy Judge Jackson in Court

Dates of Hearing : 15 December 1998

Date of Handing Down Reasons of Judgment : 17 December 1998

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J U D G M E N T

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1. The Appellant a lady then aged 31 was convicted on her own plea on 10th August 1998 of an offence of offering for sale infringingcopies of copyright works for the purpose of trade or business without the licence of the copyright owner, and she was sentencedto a term of eight months imprisonment.

2. The infringing copies consisted of no fewer than 415 music compact discs and 2211 video compact discs.

3. The Appellant, who was the owner of the business run from shop premises in Nathan Road admitted in interview with customs officersthat the infringing items at her shop were for sale; that she knew that they were infringing copies and that they were being offeredfor sale at $20 per disc.

4. In her appeal against the sentence of 8 months it has been submitted by Mr. Wong of Counsel on her behalf that such sentence wasmanifestly excessive. Given that in argument before me Mr. Wong sought to say that a sentence of 6 months would be more appropriate,plainly 8 months could not be said to be manifestly excessive. It is certainly not my function to ‘tinker’ with sentences imposedby Magistrates simply upon the footing that I would not have imposed that very same sentence.

5. Each of the matters raised before me in argument were raised before the Learned Magistrate who, in detailed and carefully consideredreasons for sentence, dealt with them.

6. The Learned Magistrate adapted as a starting point in sentence 18 months imprisonment, which term she reduced to 12 months by reasonof the Appellant’s plea of guilty and which she further reduced to 8 months by reason of the facts that the Appellant had co-operatedwith the authorities and that she had not previously offended in this way.

7. In my view the sentence imposed in this case was a lenient one and there were no exceptional circumstances justifying its being suspended.The only question for me in this appeal, which question I have just answered, is did the Magistrate impose a sentence which was toosevere? After consideration of recent authorities concerned with offences of this nature I conclude that she did not.

8. Accordingly the appeal must be dismissed.

(C. G. Jackson)
Deputy Judge of the Court of First Instance

Representation:

Mr. Vincent Wong, G.C. for HKSAR/Respondent.

Mr. Wong Po Wing instructed by Messrs. Stephen Lo & Py Tse for the Appellant.