IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
Magistracy Appeal No. 597 of 1997
Coram: Beeson, D. J.
Date: 14 August 1997
HKSAR v. LAU Chun-sang
J U D G M E N T
1. The appellant appeals today against his conviction in May of this year for an attempted snatch of a handbag. The offence took placeat the railway concourse at Hung Hom.
2. The appellant and another man were under police observation for around 40 minutes. They had been seen following one woman early inthat period and then, later, this appellant acted in concert with a companion to bump into a woman while the other man snatched herhandbag. They ran when the police called for them to stop. The police were unable to stop the woman who, having recovered her handbag,appeared to get on the train.
3. The magistrate had the opportunity of seeing the prosecution witnesses, who were subjected to lengthy cross-examination by the appellant’slawyer. The magistrate evaluated the evidence in some detail. He ignored the evidence of P.W. 2, the railway employee, which relatedto the time of issue of this appellant’s (1st Defendant) stored-value ticket.
4. Today, the appellant claimed that no surveillance video had been produced by the police, and that the police were telling lies aboutthe time of the arrest and the time he had been present in the KCR station.
5. He accused his defence counsel of not doing his best to defend his case, and said that the defence counsel had not asked questionsthat he had asked him to ask the police.
6. The appellant also claimed that the judge (Magistrate) was prejudiced against him and had said that, because appellant had a record,he would rather believe the police version of events than that of the appellant.
7. Having considered the transcript and the magistrate’s statement of findings, I am satisfied that there was more than enough evidenceon which the magistrate could find this defendant guilty. There was no indication at all of any prejudice against this appellantby the magistrate and, certainly, he didn’t say that, because the defendant had a record, he would rather believe the version ofthe police.
8. The conviction is upheld. I will hear the appellant on the sentence. What do you have to say in respect of the sentence?
APPELLANT: It is an 18-month sentence.
COURT: The magistrate properly evaluated the sentence, and I consider the sentence of 18 months is proper in the circumstances. Theappeal against sentence is dismissed.
APPELLANT: My wife is due to give birth to a baby this August and, furthermore, I’ve got a family to support, so I ask for leniency.
COURT: I am afraid both of those are factors that you should have taken into account when you went out snatching handbags.
APPELLANT: But I have now the proof with me.
COURT: I have what?
APPELLANT: The proof.
COURT: I am afraid the fact that your wife is having a baby is not sufficient reason for me to change the sentence. Thank you.
Mr Lau Chun-sang, Appellant, in person
Mr W. S. Cheung, Government Counsel, for Respondent