A niece of a top judge and of a cabinet member received a non-custodial sentence for her third assault on a police officer. The magistrate cited mitigating factors the relevance of which we do not see. Webb-site notes that five weeks earlier, another judicial relative of the cop-slapper upheld a jail sentence on a man with a clean record for the same offence.

Cop-slapper gets jail
4 August 2010

One of this summer's more interesting local stories concerns one Amina Mariam Bokhary, daughter of Syed Bagh Ali Shah Bokhary and Rhoda Mariam Bokhary-Arculli, who run brokerage Bokhary Securities Ltd. She has just notched up her third conviction (history here) for assaulting a police officer, to which she pled guilty, following convictions in 2002 and 2008. This time she was put on one year's probation, fined HK$5,000 for failing to provide a breath specimen and $3,000 for careless driving, after crashing her car head-on into a coach on Stubbs Road, Happy Valley on 27-Jan-2010.

In her defence, it was argued that she suffers from bipolar disorder and an alcohol problem. You might wonder why she chose to get behind the steering wheel of a car with that knowledge and after drinking said substance. In the previous 2008 case, she also had attention deficit disorder, but maybe she's forgotten about that.

The case has sparked concern because of the light, non-custodial sentence for a third offence, and the fact that she is rather well connected. Her father is the brother of Court of Final Appeal judge Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary, and her mother is the sister of Executive Councillor Ronald Arculli. The magistrate, Anthony Yuen Wai Ming, after admonishing her for the seriousness of the offences, reportedly said "but...the defendant has a good background, a well-off family...and most importantly, has caring and concerned parents". He also cited her academic achievements. How these factors are relevant to mitigation in sentencing we do not know. Does it imply that people with bad family backgrounds and who are financially poor, or of low academic achievement, should get higher sentences?

The police have now asked the Department of Justice to apply for a review of the sentence. The Police apparently issued a statement, although you won't find it on their web site (note to police: please publish your statements online and not just to the old media).

An alert reader draws Webb-site's attention to a similar case, Kowloon Tong Magistracy Criminal Case 7059 of 2009, HKSAR v Yiu Chi Shing, in which the defendant pleaded guilty to having "slapped a police constable's face causing tenderness" (but no love). This was "a man of previous good character in his early forties" (in other words, unlike Amina, who is 34, he had no prior convictions), but he was sentenced to 14 days in jail. He appealed his sentence to the Court of First Instance. Just five weeks ago, on 29-Jun-2010, his appeal was dismissed. In an ironic note, the judge on appeal was none other than Amina's aunt, Verina Saeeda Bokhary, the wife of the Court of Final Appeal judge.

© Webb-site.com, 2010

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