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

The Law Reform Commission published a report on 25 February 2014 proposing the repeal 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 in Schedule 3 to Cap 221 when a person is convicted of that offence.

The Commission believes that the public sentiments behind the creation of the excepted offences some 40 years ago have long gone, and the original rationale for having exceptions no longer applies.

The anomalies of the list of excepted offences are that under the present regime 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, where a non-custodial sentence is not appropriate the court has no discretion but to impose a term of immediate imprisonment for an offender convicted of attempted indecent assault because it is listed as an excepted offence. Such a state of affairs can give rise to a general sense of unfairness and arbitrariness. Besides, the report also sets out other reasons for making the recommendation.

The report in both English and Chinese language can be browsed at this website. Hard copies are available on request from the Commission's Secretariat at 20/F Harcourt House, 39 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.

The Law Society of Hong Kong commissioned the Centre for Comparative and Public Law of the University of Hong Kong to compile a report on whether there is a case for reforming the present regime of excepted offences (the "CCPL Report"). With the consent of the Law Society, the CCPL Report is available on this website.
Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)
Executive Summary (PDF) (MS Word)
Report (PDF) (MS Word)

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