Court of First Instance judge Alex Lee Wan-tang on Wednesday said the manslaughter could be caused by overreaction from medicine and believed Cheung Chak-ming had changed and started afresh.
Cheung, a former delivery man, had earlier pleaded not guilty to a charge of manslaughter. He was later convicted by a seven-member jury consisting of four women and three men with a 5-2 majority.
He was sentenced today to two years in prison for pushing 41-year-old Cheng Hok-wan in a bathroom at Kwai Chung Hospital in November 2018, causing Cheng’s head to hit the wall as he fall to the ground.
The court has heard that a staffer from the hospital first found Cheng lying on the bathroom floor on the night of November 4, 2018. Cheng died in the early morning the following day after urgent treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung.
Security camera footage showed that Cheung had first pushed Cheng’s shoulder in the hospital’s common area. The two then stared at each other before Cheung grabbed Cheng by his clothes and they entered the bathroom.
Post mortem report shows that Cheng died from a neck injury, there’s also multiple fractures on his spine.
Cheung had told police he had pushed Cheng in the bathroom, causing him to fall on the floor.
Lee said this case arose from a common assault involving Cheung pushing Cheng. Cheung did not use any weapon nor perform any continuous attacks, Lee said, adding that Cheung could have overreacted due to his medication.
After taking into consideration that Cheung has a previous criminal record for violence, the starting point for his jail term is two and a half years.
Lee said this case is simple and the trial should have ended as soon as possible.
However, Cheung has only been prosecuted two years after the death occurred causing the trial to have been delayed. Lee said: “The situation is not ideal.”
Due to the delay as well as Lee's acceptance that Cheung has turned over a new leaf, Cheung’s jail term is reduced by half a year.
In mitigation, defense counsel said Cheung has quit his drug addiction and became a Christian. He and his wife had separated due to this manslaughter case, their three children aged five to 13 years old are now taken care of by the separated wife.
The defense counsel added Cheung did not use any weapons in this case and he is not involved in an organized crime group. Cheung had only pushed the deceased and had been cooperative after being arrested.
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