Criminal Appeal
1977 No. 132


LEE Kwok-tim Appellant
THE QUEEN Respondent


Coram: Morley-John, J.

Date of Judgment: 17th February 1977




1. The appellant pleaded guilty to theft contrary to section 9 of Theft Ordinance, Cap. 210, and was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment. He now appeals against this sentence on the grounds that it is too severe.

2. There is no dispute that prior to this case the appellant had been working for nearly seven years as a porter employed by the HongKong Air Terminal at Kai Tak. However the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution differed in one very material aspectfrom the facts pleaded to by the appellant. According to the prosecution the appellant was seen actually to insert his hand intoa piece of luggage and take out a wallet and put it in his pocket. According to the appellant a piece of baggage which he was handlingwas broken and as he placed the baggage on his trolley the wallet fell out of the baggage and the appellant agreed that he then pickedit up and put it in his pocket intending to keep the wallet. The learned magistrate in his statement of findings said that he sentencedthe appellant on the basis of the facts asserted by the appellant.

3. The appellant was a respectable married man with a family and he was forty-six years of age with a clear record and I am satisfiedthat he yielded to a sudden temptation when this wallet dropped at his feet. The learned magistrate in his statement of findingsfurther stated that in his view an offender’s previous good character is of no account. With respect I cannot agree. The appellanthas been in custody for nearly two months and in all the circumstances of this case I am satisfied that justice will be done if theappeal is allowed to the extent that in place of the sentence of nine months’ imprisonment imposed by the learned magistrate therebe substituted therefor a sentence of twelve months’ imprisonment to be suspended for two years, and I so order.

(M. Morley-John, J.)


Appellant in person.

B.D. Amey, Crown Counsel, for Crown/Respondent.