LAM WING CHUEN v. R.

CACC000307/1994

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

1994, No. 307
(Criminal)

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BETWEEN
THE QUEEN
AND
LAM WING CHUEN

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Coram: Hon Yang, CJ, Macdougall, V.-P and Keith, J.

Date of hearing: 8 November 1994

Date of judgment: 8 November 1994

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J U D G M E N T O F T H E C O U R T

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Macdougall, V.P.:

1. The applicant, who is aged 18, pleaded guilty before His Honour Judge Caird in the District Court to three charges of robbery andwas sentenced on 8 June this year to a term of six years and four months on each charge. The judge ordered that these sentences beserved concurrently with each other and with a sentence of detention in a Drug Addiction Treatment Centre which had been imposedin an earlier case and commenced on 4 May. Thus all sentences were ordered to run from 4 May. The applicant now applies for leaveto appeal against sentence.

2. All three robberies were lift robberies occurring on 30 May, 3 June and 7 June 1993 respectively. In all instances the applicantfollowed a lone woman into a lift, seized her neck from behind and robbed her of her belongings. In one of these robberies, he punchedthe victim in the eye, causing a wound which required three stitches over her right eyebrow. In another robbery, he punched the victimon the face to silence her.

3. On 8 June 1993 one of the victims saw the applicant in North Point and reported his presence to the police who then arrested him.Another victim identified the applicant at an identity parade on 11 June as the man who had robbed her.

4. In his reasons for sentence, the judge, although stating that “sentences of seven years would not be out of order.” and that he “hadconsidered deducting nine months for the plea of guilty,” he did not actually specify what allowance he made for the pleas. The applicanthas a prior conviction for theft which was recorded in November 1993, and for possession of dangerous drugs which was recorded, aswe have already said, in May 1994.

5. Mrs Panesar, who appeared for the applicant in this court, submitted that the total sentence imposed is manifestly excessive havingregard to the applicant’s clear record at the time of the commission of the offences, his age, background and personal circumstances,the circumstances of the offences and the period over which they were committed. In particular, she complains that insufficient discountwas given for the pleas of guilty and the clear record of the applicant at the time of the commission of the offences.

6. The applicant’s background as revealed in a Training Centre suitability report is that he began to associate with triads in 1988,and in 1992 began smoking heroin. During the last two years he had maintained a living by engaging in theft and robbery.

7. Mrs Panesar cited several sentencing cases to us. We have said on many occasions that sentencing cases other than guideline casesare nothing more than examples of the way in which a court dealt with a particular offender in the circumstances of a particularcase. They are not binding authorities.

8. Notwithstanding the judge’s failure to indicate clearly what discount he had given for the pleas of guilty, we are satisfied thatan overall sentence o six years and four months for a total of three lift robberies, is neither manifestly excessive nor wrong inprinciple. The application is therefore refused.

(T.L. Yang) (Neil Macdougall) (B.R. Keith)
Chief Justice Vice President Judge of the High Court

Representation:

Mr I.G. Cross, Q.C. & Ms Lily Ho for Crown/Respondent

Mrs M. Panesar (DLA) for Applicant