R. v. CHAN TAI FAI

CACC000176/1996

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

1996, No.176
(Criminal)

BETWEEN
THE QUEEN
AND
CHAN TAI FAI

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Coram: Hon. Power, Ag. C.J., Mortimer, J.A. and Stuart-Moore, J.

Date of Hearing: 4 October 1996

Date of Judgment: 4 October 1996

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J U D G M E N T

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Power, Ag. C.J. (giving the judgment of the Court):

1. In this matter the applicant faced one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug which was particularized that he, on 16th May 1995,inside the male toilet at the Lucky House Seafood Restaurant in Tai Kok Tsui, unlawfully trafficked in a dangerous drug, namely 469.25grammes of a crystalline solid containing 416.89 grammes of methamphetamine hydrochloride. This is a drug which is commonly knownas “ice”. He pleaded guilty to that charge but not until the second day of the trial after a number of witnesses had appeared andbeen cross-examined.

2. Burrell, J. when sentencing said:

“….. you have now pleaded guilty to a very serious offence of trafficking the dangerous drug known as ice. Ice is recognised asa particularly dangerous drug, the trafficking of which is on the increase in Hong Kong. ……………. the usual sentence, aftera trial involving, almost half a kilogramme of ice, would be at least 15 years’ imprisonment. You are entitled to a reduction ofthat sentence because you have pleaded guilty.

A plea of guilty at the first opportunity would normally attract a reduction of one-third, but I cannot give you that full discountbecause your plea has come at the end of the prosecution evidence, in which, upon your instructions, a serious attack was made onthe prosecution witnesses. However, this court takes the view that all pleas of guilty should be recognised and encouraged at whateverstage they come, and I shall, therefore, reduce your sentence by more than a token amount.”

The judge then reduced it from 15 years to 12 years. The starting point was squarely within the applicable guidelines (The Attorney General v. Ching Kwok Hung [1991] 2 HKLR 125) and the reduction was, in the circumstances, a proper one. There is nothing that would allow us to interfere with the sentence imposed.

3. The application must be refused.

(N.P. Power) (Barry Mortimer) (M. Stuart-Moore)
Ag. Chief Justice Justice of Appeal Judge of the High Court

Representation:

Mr. W.D. Moultrie, S.C.C., for the Respondent.

Applicant in person.