Skip to main content

Excepted Offences under Schedule 3 to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap 221)
(HKLRC Consultation Paper)

The Law Reform Commission published a consultation paper on 24 June 2013 proposing the repealing of excepted offences listed in Schedule 3 to Cap 221.

Some provisions in Cap 221 prohibit a suspended sentence from being imposed in respect of any of the "excepted offences" listed at Schedule 3 to Cap 221 when a person is convicted of that offence.

The creation of excepted offences was the result of strong opposition from the unofficial members of the Legislative Council in the early 1970’s, who expressed concern at "the sharp increase in crime, and especially violent crime, since 1960".

The Commission believes that the public sentiments behind the creation of the excepted offences some 40 years ago have long gone. The original rationale for having exceptions therefore no longer applies. More importantly, the anomalies of the list of excepted offences are that some serious offences are not on the list while some less serious ones are. For instance, an offender convicted of unlawful intercourse with a girl under 13 years (which is currently not listed as an excepted offence) may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment but suspended. In contrast, the court has no discretion but to impose a term of immediate imprisonment for an offender convicted of attempt indecent assault (which is currently listed as an excepted offence) where a non-custodial sentence is not appropriate. Such a state of affairs can give rise to a general sense of unfairness and arbitrariness. Besides, the consultation paper also sets out other reasons for making the recommendation.

The Commission welcomes views, comments and suggestions on any issues discussed in this Paper. The consultation period will last until September 23, 2013.

Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)
Executive Summary (PDF) (MS Word)
Consultation Paper (PDF) (MS Word)

Important Notices