The current practice of sentencing whereby almost every Defendant who pleads guilty before trial is given a one third reduction from the starting point for sentencing is to be reconsidered by the Court of Appeal. In HKSAR –v- Lo Kam Fai (CACC374/2014) , Yeung and Lunn VPP and Macrae JA all agreed that it is appropriate to consider whether there should be a different approach to sentencing between a Defendant who enters a “timely plea” and a Defendant who enters an “untimely plea”. Macrae JA put it thus:
The issue is considered of such importance that the Court has appointed a Senior Counsel as amicus curiae. The appeal will be heard on 19th April 2016 and will also consider the Sentencing Guidelines Council’s (England and Wales) guideline, ‘Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea’ and authorities from overseas jurisdictions. Judgment has been reserved.
This article by MCS subsequently appeared in Hong Kong Lawyer, the Official Journal of the Law Society of Hong Kong: http://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/one-third-discount-guilty-plea