Court/Judicial body: Hong Kong Court of First Instance
Date: July 17, 1998 CRC
Provisions: Convention on the Rights of the Child (general reference)
Domestic provisions: Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, Cap. 309
Background: A man pleaded guilty to charges of possessing and publishing pornographic pictures of young children in violation of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. He was sentenced by a magistrate to a term of 21 months imprisonment and appealed against this sentence, claiming that it was too long given that the statutory maximum was 36 months and he was a first time offender who pleaded guilty.
Issue and resolution: Child pornography. The Court found that the sentence was neither excessive nor wrong in principle and dismissed the appeal.
Court reasoning: The Court was satisfied that the sentence was an appropriate deterrent, serving as a message that child pornography will not be tolerated and that those who violate relevant criminal provisions will face the full force of the law. In affirming the sentence, the Court also noted the importance of Hong Kong’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Excerpt citing CRC and other relevant human rights “4… Special mention was also made of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Hong Kong is committed and that to honour that commitment, there must not only be effective laws at state level, but appropriate sentencing at the court level.”
CRIN comments: CRIN believes this decision is consistent with the CRC in that the possession, production, sale and distribution of child pornography should be clearly prohibited under both Article 34 of the CRC and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Also in line with the Court’s reasoning, persons who violate these laws should be prosecuted and given sentences appropriate to the nature and severity of their offence.
Citation:  HKCFI 152;  1 HKLRD 931; HCMA315/1998 (17 July 1998)
Link to Full Judgment: http://www.hklii.hk/eng/hk/cases/hkcfi/1998/152.html