IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
1996, Nos. 376, 448 & 449
Coram: Hon. Power, Ag. C.J., Mortimer and Mayo, JJ.A.
Date of hearing: 13 June 1997
Date of judgment: 13 June 1997
J U D G M E N T
Power, Ag. C.J. (giving the judgment of the Court):
1. The applicant, after a trial which occupied 21 days before Judge Pang in the District Court, was on 29th April 1996 found guiltyof eight counts of sending prohibited articles by post, three counts of criminal intimidation and one count of attempted intimidation.On 10th June 1996 he was sentenced to two months on each of the four of the postal offences and to 3 1/2 years concurrent on eachof the linked criminal intimidation offences. He was sentenced to two months on each of the other three postal offences. These sentenceswere made concurrent but were ordered to be consecutive to the 3 1/2 years imposed on the other offences making a total sentenceof three years and eight months.
2. On 1st August 1996, the applicant pleaded guilty before Judge H.C. Wong in the District Court to two counts of sending prohibitedarticles by post and to one count of criminal intimidation. He was sentenced to two months on each of the sending prohibited articlescharges which were ordered concurrent with each other but consecutive to the sentences passed by Judge Pang. He was sentenced totwo years on the criminal intimidation charge, one year of which was ordered to be concurrent with the sentences imposed by JudgePang. Overall he received a sentence of four years and ten months.
3. We cannot describe the offences dealt with by Judge Pang better than by using the words of the judge:
4. The judge rightly regarded the offences as very serious ones. He went on:
On its face the overall sentence of three years and eight months imposed by Judge Pang was a properly calculated one.
5. The two offences of sending prohibited articles which were dealt with by Judge H.C. Wong both involved insulting letters which werewritten by staff members of the applicant’s company at his instigation and sent to Mr. Kevin Egan who had prosecuted the applicant’sbrother. He was sentenced to two months on each of those charges. The criminal intimidation charge involved a threatening lettermeant for the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Mrs. Anson Chan, but delivered to her cousin Dr. Anne Fang. A sinister aspect of thatoffence was that the letter was sent four days after Dr. Fang had been the victim of an assault carried out by an employee of theapplicant. It must be said that the Crown did not proceed against the applicant on that charge and so he cannot be taken to havebeen involved in that offence however the letter followed shortly after it and made reference to it. The letter says:
Sd. A Vietnamese Warrior”
6. That was the offence for which the applicant received imprisonment for two years with one year concurrent and one consecutive tothe other sentences.
7. Mr. Buchanan, who appears for the applicant, submits that the sentences of 3 1/2 years imposed by Judge Pang were excessive. It issuggested that there was a failure to give sufficient weight to the motive of the applicant and to bear in mind that there was noelement of triad menace involved. It is suggested also that there was too much emphasis placed upon the personalities involved. Themotive of the applicant was, it is submitted, to try to assist his brother who he firmly believed had been wrongly imprisoned.
8. It is further submitted that not enough weight was given to the essentially good character of the applicant as shown in the probationreport.
9. We bear in mind all that Mr. Buchanan has said. These offences, however, are ones of considerable gravity. They strike at the fabricof the administration of justice and of orderly government. An appeal is the only recourse after conviction. Attempts to side-stepdue process by endeavouring to intimidate those involved in the administration of the law are gravely serious offences. We see nofailure to take into account any relevant matters by either of the two judges. The attacks were, for the most part, directed at personsinvolved in one way or another in the administration of justice. The letters were not frivolous or such as might be easily dismissed.There was a serious intention to intimidate. In our view, the 3 years and 8 months imposed in relation to the first set of offencewas entirely appropriate. Judge Wong rightly took into account the sentence by judge Pang but bore in mind also the gravity of theoffences with which she was dealing. She was mindful also that pleas of guilty had been entered thereto. She, rightly in our view,made part of the sentences which she was imposing consecutive to the sentences imposed earlier. It is correct that these were severesentences but they were imposed in relation to very bad offences. We are satisfied that they were neither wrong in principal or toosevere and the application must, therefore, refused.
Mr. Peter Nguyen, Q.C., Y.M. Liu & Arthur Luk (Crown Prosecutor) for the Respondent.
Mr. Buchanan assigned by D.L.A. for the Applicant.