The Queen v Joseph Pereira And Others

Court:District Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:DCCC25/1971
Judgment Date:07 Dec 1971




CASE NO.25 OF 1971


The Queen
(1) Joseph Pereira
(2) CHEUNG Yung-wah alias
CHEUNG Chai alias Kwai Kwai
(3) TANG Fu-man alias TANG Wan
(4) LAM Wong-fai alias Ngau Por
alias WONG Fai
(5) CHAN Hung-ming alias Hak Fei
(6) TSUN Lai-kuen alias Sai Chu


Coram: District Judge T.L. Yang

Date of Judgment: 7 December 1971.


Reasons for Verdicts - Main Part


1. This is a case of conspiracy in connexion with the dishonest interference with the forms of horses which took part or were scheduled to take part in races at Happy Valley during the 1969/1970 Racing Season, from 11.10.69 to 16.5.70.


2. The gist of the First Charge is that all six accused, between 1.10.69 and 18.4.70, conspired together and with others unknown to cheat and defraud bettors as well as horse owners by doping horses. The gist of the Second Charge is that all six accused, between the same dates, conspired together and with others unknown to effect a public mischief by doping horses. The gist of the Third Charge is that D4, D5 and D6, between 1.10.69 and 1.3.70, conspired together and with one Fung and others unknown, to cheat and defraud bettors and horse owners by doping horses. The gist of the Fourth Charge is that D4, D5 and D6 between the same dates, conspired together and with one Fung and others unknown, to effect a public mischief by doping horses. By way of further particulars of the Charges, the prosecution on 30.3.71 stated that the method of interfering with the horses was the introduction of a substance or substances into the body of a horse (p.56 of my notes of proceedings. The figures in brackets hereafter (unless otherwise indicated) refer to my notes of proceedings and/or the exhibits). It will be seen that the same set of facts cover Charges 1 and 2, and another set of facts cover Charges 3 and 4.


3. Before I proceed any further, I should explain briefly the somewhat unusual format of my Reasons for Verdicts. I was at the very outset confronted with a dilemma. On the one hand I have to avoid going into great details and produce a complicated decision of inordinate length, but on the other hand I must not eschew details of importance. The solution that I have found is to divide the Reasons for Verdicts into several parts, in the hope of achieving two objects: (a) that it would contain all matters of material relevance, and (b) that the reader would not be overburdened with great length and unnecessary detalls. Thus the reader finds --

I. The Main Part of the Reasons for Verdict, which deal chiefly with such aspects of the evidence having a close and direct relevance with the alleged conspiracies.
II. Appendices 1 - 8, which I have compiled for the purpose of facilitating references, contain:
1. The more important rulings.
2. A list of witnesses.
3. Inconsistencies in PW7's evidence.
4. Findings of facts respecting Beas River.
5. A list of Races.
6. A list of horses.
7. Findings of facts on individual horses.
8. Findings of facts on miscellaneous topics.


4. The opening of the Crown's case took the whole of 22.3.71. On the following day, Mr. Jackson-Lipkin for D1 applied for an adjournment of at least a day. The gist of his submission was as follows: This is a case of great complexity, and one would have expected such a case to have been brought in the Supreme Court (but see Professor Glanville Williams on Criminal Law. - The General Part, 2nd edition at pp. 682-3, where the learned author considers that conspiracy charges are hardly suitable for trial by jury). It was only in March that a list of the horses involved and some of the witnesses' statements were supplied by the Crown. There was as yet only an incomplete list of the names of the witnesses. The first part of the Crown's written opening was received in March, the second part at mid-day and the third part in the afternoon of the first day of hearing. There being no written depositions, the defence found it difficult to prepare their case. These observations however, were in no way intended to be criticisms of the conduct of Mr. Corcoran, counsel for the prosecution. On the contrary, it was admitted that Mr. Corcoran was exceedingly fair and helpful in having supplied the witnesses' statements and other information. Indeed I think it right to make special mention of the scrupulous fairness which has characterised the conduct of the proseuction in this trial. The application by Mr. Jackson-Lipkin, and the reasons on which it was based, were supported by Mr. Patrick Woo for D2, D5 and D6, by Mr. K.H. Woo for D3, and by Mr. Thomas Wang for D4. (Leave was given to Mr. Wang to withdraw from the case on 7.6.71. A few days later D4 was represented by Mr. P. Woo.) Mr. Corcoran did not object to the application. I accordingly adjourned the hearing for 1 ½ days to 25.3.71 to enable the defence to consider the Crown's opening speech.


5. A list of witnesses is to be found in Appendix 2.

6. As in most conspiracy trials, some of the witnesses called by the prosecution in the present case are either self-confessed co-conspirators with the accused or alleged by other prosecution witnesses to be co-conspirators.

7. Thus PW4 (Wong Tang Ping), a senior riding boy, has been described as having taken part in doping horses (e.g. by PW11), and as a member of D1's doping group (e.g. by P.W.7). It has been suggested by D2 and D6, and denied by PW4, that PW4 had asked them to dope Willie (Race 118). I find that PW4 did not ask either of them to dope Willie (pp.70,1060-1, 1074, 1145). On the evidence as a whole, I am of the view that he was suspected by his colleagues in the stables as a member of a doping group probably because of his unique position, to wit, his close association with its members and also the fact that he enjoyed the confidence of the alleged members of the conspiracy specified in Charges 1 and 2. This view is based on the readiness and willingness of D1, D2 and D3 to convey to him information on doping and the proved friendship between him and the three accused. And D6 received riding instructions from PW4. In my opinion, he was not a member of any doping group, nor a co-conspirator or accomplice. However it does not necessarily follow that he is therefore a completely disinterested and independent witness. He was clearly a suspect, and it is natural that he is anxious to clear his name. A witness in his position may become over zealous and exaggerate his evidence so as to present himself in a more favourable light. I accordingly warn myself that I should treat his evidence with the utmost caution. Having thus warned myself, I unhesitatingly accept him as a witness of truth.

8. PW5 (Chan Yuk) is an ex-mafoo and a self-confessed member of a doping group of which D4 was alleged to be a member. His evidence concerns Hippona II and High Flyer (Race 1 and Race 5 respectively, both on 11.10.69), Beautiful Girl (Race 14 on 18.10.69), and Atalanta and Public Safety (Race 17 and Race 20 respectively, both on 20.10.69). D4 is implicated by this evidence. P.W.5 has been declared a hostile witness, and in my opinion it is unsafe to rely on his evidence at all.

9. PW12 (Lai Kei On), a mafoo, denies that he was a co-conspirator, but I am satisfied on the evidence as a whole that he was. PW6 (Kan Ling Chi), PW7 (Vong Cheung Leung), PW9 (Yuen Leung), PW11 (Wong Tsz Yung), PW13 (Yau Po Kwong), PW14 (Chiu San Hong) and PW63 (Chung Lun) who are all mafoos, and PW10 (Yu Wing Kwai) a riding boy, have all admitted either that they took an active part in the conspiracy or that they were members of the conspiracy to dope horses, or both. All the witnesses referred to in this paragraph were therefore accomplices. That being so, it is not surprising that although some of them quite openly admit their participation in a conspiracy, others would deny it. Again in a conspiracy trial such as the present one, covering some 70 horses and 73 races and other incidents, all of which occurred a long time ago and stretched over a prolonged period - of some six and a half months for the first two Charges, and of six months for the last two Charges - witnesses were sometimes confused, and their memory was at times faulty. As is common in these cases, they contradicted themselves and each other in certain respects. In these proceedings, many witnesses for the prosecution, particularly those already mentioned in this paragraph, whilst under cross-examination, were subjected to extremely long and vigorous investigations on matters of great detail. Some of the witnesses' character was attacked, and at times the same question was repeated over and over again until the witness gave the desired answer, more, it appears, as a result of exhaustion and resignation rather than a genuine correction of a mistake made. Some of them were visibly weary and tired at the end of the day, particularly PW7, who was kept on the witness stand for about 31 ½ hours (18 of which being occupied under exceedingly persistent cross-examination) on the 14th, 15th, 16th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th of April and on the 3rd of May. After a few days his cheeks were flushed and his eyes were red, and it was plain that he was confused and could only concentrate with difficulty. PW9 was cross-examined at very great length on his part-time employment and it was put to him -- some might feel rather brusquely -- that he was a pimp and a...

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