HKSAR v. YEBOAH JOHN MARTIN

CACC 259/2007

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 259 OF 2007

(ON APPEAL FROM HCCC NO. 46 OF 2007)

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BETWEEN

HKSAR Respondent
and
YEBOAH John Martin Applicant

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Before : Hon Ma CJHC and McMahon J in Court

Date of Hearing : 5 December 2007

Date of Judgment : 5 December 2007

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J U D G M E N T

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Hon Ma CJHC (giving the judgment of the Court) :

1. On 23 July 2007, the Applicant was convicted on his own plea before Nguyen J of one count of trafficking in dangerous drugs, namelycocaine and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. The amount of drugs involved was 775.10 grammes of cocaine. He now seeks leaveto appeal against sentence. He is 28 years of age.

2. The Applicant was arrested on 3 December 2006 at the Hong Kong International Airport. Upon being searched he was found to be carryingin a suitcase 1,000.63 grammes of a mixture containing the said amount of cocaine.

3. He pleaded guilty to the offence and was therefore entitled to a one-third discount. The judge had taken a starting point of 21years. This was entirely within the guidelines for sentencing for this type of offence in The Queen v Lau Tak-ming and Yeung Wai-shing and Others [1990] 2 HKLR 370. The quantity of drugs in the present case (being in excess of 600 grammes) was in the “very large quantities” category.

4. In our judgment, the sentence imposed on the Applicant was neither manifestly excessive nor wrong in principle. The judge tookinto account the same matters that the Applicant now places before us. He is the father of 3 young children, who were at the dateof trial, 4, 6 and 10. His wife is ill with cancer and indeed the reason why he committed the present offence was to enable hermedical expenses to be met. Like so many drug couriers, he is a very poor man. There is no doubt that his family will suffer throughhis being in prison. We have little doubt he is remorseful. Yet, however, much sympathy one will have for the personal circumstancesof the Applicant, a large amount of dangerous drugs was involved in the present case. There was an international element as well: the Applicant had intended to make delivery of the cocaine in Guangzhou. The mitigating factors do not enable the sentencing guidelinesto be relaxed in the present case.

5. For the above reasons, the application is dismissed.

(Geoffrey Ma)
Chief Judge, High Court
(M. A. McMahon)
Judge of the Court of First Instance

Mr John Reading SC & Ms Winnie Lam of the Department of Justice for the Respondent

Applicant YEBOAH John Martin, acting in person