The Queen v So Chi Wai

Court:Court of Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:CACC433/1989
Judgment Date:13 Aug 1990
CACC000433/1989 THE QUEEN v. SO CHI WAI

CACC000433/1989

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL 1989, No. 433
(Criminal)

BETWEEN

THE QUEEN

AND

SO CHI WAI

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Coram: Hon. Sir Derek Cons, Ag. C.J., Penlington, J.A. & Jones, J.

Date of hearing: 13 August 1990

Date of delivery of judgment: 13 August 1990

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JUDGMENT

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Sir Derek Cons, Ag. C.J., delivered the judgment of the Court:

1. On the 17th of August last year the victim of the offences we are concerned with, a lady who lived alone in a flat in MacDonnell Road, returned home sometime after 11 o'clock in the evening. She went to the roof for a quick look at her garden there and as she came down the telephone rang in her bedroom. Going to answer it there she was pounced upon by two men with stockings over their faces.

2. Eventually they robbed her of $2,000 and a camera. But not content with that they blindfolded, gagged and bound her, placed a knife at her throat. They forced her to swallow pills and then cut or ripped away all of her clothing. They further indecently assaulted her. At that stage she lost consciousness, to come round sometime later when the men had left her flat. She found herself still blindfolded, gagged and bound but she managed to free herself and contacted her friends. For fear of publicity she did not report the incident at that time. Instead she moved out of the flat to stay with friends, and there the matter rested for a short while.

3. In September she suddenly found herself being blackmailed with the threat of a video film which was said to have been acted by her on the night of the 17th August. She then did report to the police and they, by monitoring appropriate telephone receivers, were able to arrest one of the men concerned in the act of actually telephoning her, a man by the name of Lai Tat Chiu.

4. The Crown's case in the court below, accepted by a majority of the jury as regards the incident in the flat and the whole of the jury as to the blackmail, was that the other man was So Chi Wai, the co-defendant below, who applies by these proceedings for leave to appeal against the convictions and the sentence.

5. The principal evidence against him was firstly the evidence of the accomplice, Lai Tat Chiu, and secondly the evidence of a tape recording of one of the telephone calls made to the victim in pursuance of the blackmail. The voice of the Defendant was identified by six of the witnesses, all colleagues of him, to whom the tape was played in court during the course of the trial. Furthermore he had been an employee of a decorating company which the victim had engaged when she had purchased the flat the previous May and he would thus have had an opportunity to obtain duplicate keys.

6. The trial before Hopkinson, J. was not without incidents. The most important occurred while the Defendant was being cross-examined. The hearing had been adjourned on a Friday evening. The first thing on the following Monday morning. Mr. Jack Ong, who was appearing for the Defendant at the trial on the instructions of solicitors assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, informed the court that the Defendant wished to dispense with his services and to seek other representation with the assistance of his sister. To the judge's eventual enquiry the Defendant limited his reasons for his decision simply to the fact that he had lost confidence in counsel. Mr. Ismail, counsel who appeared that afternoon to seek an adjournment for the Defendant, mentioned particular matters said to be shortcomings in the conduct of the defence, which were strenuously denied by Mr. Ong and apparently not accepted by the...

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