HKSAR v. YEUNG CHING-FAT

DCCC495/2012

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 495 OF 2012

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HKSAR
v.
Yeung Ching-fat
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Before: Deputy District Judge H.F. Woo

Date: 6 August 2012 at 12.12 pm

Present: Ms Irene Poon Oi-lin, SPP, of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Yiu Yuk-wah Christian, of Yaddy Cheung & Co., for the Defendant

Offence: Burglary (入屋犯法罪)

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Reasons for Sentence

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The charge

1. The defendant pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary. Such offence is contrary to section 11(1)(b) and (4) of the Theft Ordinance, Cap.210.

The facts

2. The facts of the case can be summarised as follows.

3. PW1 resided at a public housing estate unit at Room 944, 9th Floor, Tin Lok House, Tin King Estate, Tuen Mun (hereinafter referredto as “the unit”) at the material time.

4. At about 1240 hours on 1 January 2012, when PW1 left home, he closed the iron gate and door of the unit.

5. Upon his return at about 1315 hours on the same day, he found that there were prising marks on the door lock.

6. PW1’s notebook computer, three mobile phones and a plastic box which contained some coins were found missing. The total valueof the stolen properties was about $2,680.

7. The fingerprints lifted from the cashbox, which was placed on top of a bed cabinet inside the unit, matched with that of the rightring finger of the defendant.

8. The defendant was eventually located and arrested on 7 May 2012.

9. The defendant admitted under caution that he and a male called “Ah Cheong” entered the unit and stole the aforesaid propertiesin the unit.

The defendant’s background and mitigation

10. The defendant, aged 37, is a drug addict. He used to be a shipyard worker, earning $8,000 per month.

11. He has two children, aged 8 and 10. His wife is a waitress and, at present, the sole breadwinner of the family.

12. The defendant has 15 previous criminal records, with two similar convictions. There were six other convictions, which were dishonesty-related. The remaining seven convictions were drug offences.

13. The defendant had his first conviction as young as in the age of 20. For the subsequent 17 years, he has kept on committing crimes. His wife, children, aged parents were never an incentive for the defendant to amend his past misdeeds.

14. Although he has been sent to the DATC four times for rehabilitation and treatment, he could not successfully kick off his vice habitof taking dangerous drugs.

15. He had been sent to prison for numerous occasions and yet he showed no determination to start anew.

16. He has always been an irresponsible husband, father and son, and now he is making use of his father’s medical condition to askthis court for leniency.

Sentencing guidelines

17. The burgled premises were a residential unit.

18. The Court of Appeal in R v Chan Yui Man, CACC 36/1988, held that 3 years’ imprisonment was a proper starting point for a first offender of full age in domestic burglary.

19. Apart from his guilty plea, this court sees no remorse from the defendant.

20. This offence was committed together with an accomplice, and whilst the defendant was on court bail for an offence of attempted theft.

21. It is the third time he was convicted for burglary offence and his ninth conviction involving dishonesty.

22. In view of these aggravating features, this court is entitled to make an upward adjustment in sentence.

Sentence

23. Having considered all the circumstances of the case and that of the defendant, the mitigation put forward by his lawyer, and thesentencing guidelines, this court will adopt a starting point of 39 month’s imprisonment.

24. The defendant is entitled to his one-third discount for his plea, so as to reduce the sentence to 26 months’ imprisonment.

25. This court now orders the defendant to serve a term of 26 months’ imprisonment.

H.F. Woo
Deputy District Judge