Coram: Briggs, C.J., Huggins & Pickering, JJ.A.
Date of Judgment: 5th May, 1977.
1. The Appellant was convicted on three charges of blackmail and two of theft, the thefts arising out of two of the blackmail incidents.There was no merit in his application to appeal against conviction which application we dismissed.
2. He was sentenced by the District Court Judge to four years’ imprisonment on each of the blackmail charges and to two years on eachof the theft charges, all sentences to run concurrently. Those sentences were arrived at by the learned judge on the basis that theAppellant had a clear record although before this Court Crown Counsel produced a record of offences, none of them particularly serious,which record terminated 19 years ago in 1958. We think that for practical purposes the Appellant should be treated as having previouslyhad a clear record.
3. As it seems to us sentences of four years’ imprisonment for these blackmail offences were excessive. The demand in one case was for$50 with an implied threat that the victim would not be permitted to continue to work in the Tan Kwai Tsuen vicinity if the moneywas not paid and the threat was made under the influence of alcohol. The other two demands were in respect of $100 each and wereaccompanied by a threat of assault. The offences, whilst not the worst of their type, undoubtedly deserved custodial sentences but,as we have said, we regarded four years’ imprisonment as excessive the more so since the Appellant had to be treated as having aclear record. Accordingly we reduced the sentences of four years’ imprisonment in respect of the blackmail charges to sentences oftwo years’ imprisonment to run concurrently. The effect is that sentences totalling four years’ imprisonment are reduced to a totalof two years’ imprisonment.
Appellant in person.
Miss Harris for Crown/respondent.