IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 904 OF 1998
(On appeal from NKC4201 of 1998)
Coram : Deputy Judge Lugar-Mawson in Court
Date of hearing : 17 December 1998
Date of judgment : 17 December 1998
J U D G M E N T
The appellant, YUEN Siu-mei, appealed against her conviction by Mr Alan Wright, Principal Magistrate, sitting at North Kowloon Magistracyon 3 August of this year for an offence of possession of a dangerous drug. The dangerous drug in question was 3.73 grammes of a crystallinesolid which had 3.52 grammes of ‘Ice’, methamphetamine hydrochloride, in it.
2. The prosecution’s evidence was that a police officer attending at the premises where the defendant and the ‘Ice’ were found, foundthe defendant in possession of it.
3. Her defence, as put before Mr Wright, was that she had been cleaning those premises and found the substance in a package. It wasa wet package, she dried it, then repackaged it. She had told the police officer that she had found it there and that possibly acustomer had left it. The woman police officer then put it in the appellant’s pocket, effectively ‘planting’ the dangerous drugson her.
4. These matters were raised before Mr Wright. He took the defendant’s defence into account in his reasons for verdict and rejectedit. He accepted that the police officer who gave evidence was credible and had told the truth. There is nothing in his statementof findings, or in the transcript of the proceedings, that indicates that he was wrong to do so.
5. This is a matter which revolved around the credibility of witnesses. The best person to resolve those matters, in fact, the onlyperson appointed to resolve those matters, is the trial magistrate himself. He had the advantage, which I do not, of having heardthe witnesses give evidence and observe their demeanour. As I said there is nothing in his reasons for verdict which indicates whetherhis approach to this case, or the evidence, was in any way wrong. I am satisfied that Mr Wright’s conviction of the appellant onthis count is unassailable on appeal, and her appeal against conviction is dismissed.
6. I now turn to the appellant, YUEN Siu-mei’s appeal against the sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment imposed by
Mr Wright. I have already spoken of the weight of the ‘Ice’ concerned. ‘Ice’ is regarded as being a hard dangerous drug that is asdeleterious in its effects as heroin is. In fact the Court of Appeal has commented it is probably a far more deleterious drug thanheroin, as it has no therapeutic use. For the weight of drugs involved here, even for a first time offender as the appellant is,a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment can not be regarded as excessive. The appellant’s appeal against sentence is dismissed.
Mr Eddie SEAN, Senior Government Counsel and Mr Richard MA, Government Counsel, for HKSAR
YUEN Siu-mei, Appellant in Person