Coram: Briggs, C.J., Huggins & Pickering, JJ.A.
Date of Judgment: 16 January 1979
1. The two appellants, together with a third person were found guilty of two counts of wounding with intent, contrary to section 17 of the Offences against the Person Ordinance. Originally, all three of these persons appealed against their conviction and against their sentence.
2. The third person mentioned above withdrew his appeal against conviction and sentence and the second appellant, at a later stage,withdrew his appeal against conviction. So we are here concerned only with the appeal of the first appellant against conviction andof the first and second appellants against sentence.
3. The two appellants were each sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on each of the charges, the sentences to be concurrent.
4. The appellants were members of a group of persons who attacked two victims who were seated in a taxi in a street in Hong Kong. Therewere some 7 or 8 persons in the group and they were armed with knives. One of the victims was very seriously hurt, the other victimwas also wounded but to a lesser extent. It is enough to say that we dismissed the appeal of the first appellant against conviction.
5. The court found that the first appellant was actively encouraging the group to attack the two victims but there was no evidence thathe was armed or had been armed. The evidence was simply that he participated in the attack, encouraging the others by his presence.We think that the sentence of six years for this offence is excessive and we allowed his appeal to the extent that the sentence bereduced to one of four years.
6. It was proved, so far as the second appellant was concerned, that he was armed with a knife at the time of the incident. We thinkthat in those circumstances the sentence of six years must stand and his appeal is dismissed.
7. The trial judge adopted a most unusual way of recording his Reasons for Verdict. In this case, the Reasons for Verdict cover fiftypages of transcript and the Reasons for Sentence, another twelve. In his Reasons for Verdict, the judge deals with the evidence ofeach witness in turn and, in doing that, he refers first of all to the examination-in-chief, then to the cross-examination, and thento the re-examination of each individual witness and, indeed, of the two defendants who gave evidence on their own behalf also. Wedo not think that this is very helpful to this court. What is wanted in the Reasons for Verdict is a short statement of why the judgecame to the conclusion that each individually accused person was guilty. It does not assist this court to have to read through along resume of the evidence of each witness and we note that it is only this particular judge who follows this practice.
Alan Hoo & Miss A. Eu (H.H. Lau & Co.) for appellants
Alderdice for crown