Jail term raised for smuggler who fooled top court judges
Inmate had fooled top court's judges into overturning conviction with forged papers
A jailed drug smuggler, whose conviction for assaulting prison officers was overturned after he used forged documents in his appeal against it, has had his sentence increased from four years to six years and nine months.
In his judgment yesterday, the Court of Appeal's Mr Justice Frank Stock said Brian Alfred Hall "dedicated considerable energy" to undermine the administration of justice.
Hall, who was in 1998 jailed 18 years for drug trafficking, was in January last year found guilty of three counts of perverting the course of public justice and one of using a false instrument. He was sentenced to four years' jail.
The charges stemmed from allegations that Hall punched a prison officer, Ho Kwok-keung, three times in the chest when the man tried to take away the inmate's newspaper.
But two alleged witness statements by prison officers presented later in Hall's appeal claimed that the inmate had splashed water and thrown a chair at Ho instead. The difference between the two accounts undermined Ho's credibility, and the conviction was quashed.
On another three occasions, Hall used 15 fake documents in court, including medical reports and witness statements.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeal increased Hall's jail term after the prosecution requested a review of the sentence. The court also threw out his appeal against the conviction, finding the evidence "as overwhelming as could be".
"It is an application [appeal] that should never have been made. [These] were serious offences," Stock wrote.
"They evidence a campaign to undermine the administration of justice … without any qualm or hesitation … Hall dedicated considerable energy to immersing the judicial and prison systems in a stew of deception."
The decision to overturn Hall's conviction had been unanimous, made by the Court of Final Appeal's then Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, permanent judges Kemal Bokhary, Patrick Chan Siu-oi and Roberto Ribeiro, and non-permanent judge Anthony Mason.
Court documents showed that the judges made the decision after a former Department of Justice prosecutor made an "extraordinary concession". Records showed that the prosecutor was Cheung Wai-sun.
The "concession" related to the fact that Cheung did not tell the judges about a probe into the inconsistencies in the statements Hall had presented in court.
Director of Public Prosecutions Kevin Zervos told the court that Cheung did not mention this to the top court because of his perception of his duty of prosecutorial fairness. Stock wrote that the court and Zervos agreed that the perception was "misplaced".