No lighter sentence for animal abuser after judge rejects deal with prosecutor

Man who deprived 100 cats and dogs of care gets four months in jail after judge rejects deal

 

A prosecutor erred in agreeing to a less serious charge against a man accused of cruelty to animals without consulting the Department of Justice, a court ruled yesterday.

Magistrate Don So Man-lung restored the more serious charges against Chang Kwai-ming, 60, and sentenced him to four months in jail.

Kwun Tong Court heard that Chang had abused more than 100 dogs and cats by failing to give them a safe home and medical treatment when they needed it.

Chang had originally faced one count of mistreating animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance.

But outsourced prosecutor Athena Kung agreed to a request from defence counsel Catherine Wong Kam-kuen that this be amended to one charge under regulations. The former is punishable with a jail term while the maximum penalty for the latter is a fine of HK$50,000.

Chang had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was about to be sentenced when So questioned the amended charge and referred the matter to the Justice Department, which said it had not been consulted and would like to replace the amended charge with two that are similar to the original, heavier charge.

So yesterday approved the department’s request and went ahead with sentencing after Chang pleaded guilty again.

He rejected a contention by defence counsel Wong that the lighter charge should remain because allowing the prosecution to amend it would be an abuse of legal procedure. Wong said Chang had already been led to expect a lesser sentence.

 

 

Continue reading at SCMP.

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