Teen faces harsher punishment after govt wins appeal - RTHK
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Teen faces harsher punishment after govt wins appeal

2021-01-14 HKT 22:33
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  • The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial magistrate was wrong to sentence a 15-year-old who admitted to throwing a petrol bomb at police quarters to probation. File Photo: RTHK
    The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial magistrate was wrong to sentence a 15-year-old who admitted to throwing a petrol bomb at police quarters to probation. File Photo: RTHK
A teenager who pleaded guilty to throwing a petrol bomb at police quarters in Chai Wan is set to receive a harsher sentence, after the Court of Appeal ruled that a probation order issued by a lower court was too lenient.

The 15-year-old – who cannot be identified due to his age – had originally been sentenced to three years’ probation for throwing the Molotov cocktail that landed on a wall in front of police quarters in November 2019.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) lodged an appeal, saying the punishment was far too lenient.

During the hearing, a deputy director of public prosecutions, Vinci Lam, argued that the boy was clearly aiming at the police flats behind the wall, judging from the “high arc of the throw.”

She said trial magistrate Stanley Ho had underestimated the seriousness of the offence, saying he had put too much emphasis on the defendant’s rehabilitation instead of other relevant sentencing factors such as deterrence and punishment.

The defendant’s lawyer, Lawrence Lau, argued that the crux of the appeal was whether the trial magistrate had applied sentencing principles appropriately.

He pointed out that while the recommended probation sentence was to last only 15 months, the magistrate extended the order to three years to reflect the severity of the crime.

But one of the judges hearing the appeal, Derek Pang, noted that there are many options for punishment on a scale between a probation order and a custodial sentence – such as sending him to a detention, training or rehabilitation centre.

The teenager was remanded in custody before he is due to be sentenced again on February 4.