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Judge cuts pregnant Filipina’s sentence so she can go home

03 August 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

High Court judge says appeal "exceptional" 
A High Court judge has agreed to cut the sentence of a pregnant Filipina domestic worker who was convicted of working illegally in her employer’s restaurant so she could go home.
Candelabria Fabroa flew back to the Philippines today, Aug. 3, after Justice Audrey Patricia Campbell-Moffat cut her sentence from three months to 44 days yesterday. As she had already been detained for 46 days, she was immediately released from custody.
Fabroa, who is five months’ pregnant, also tried to have her conviction overturned but was unsuccessful.
Judge Campbell-Moffat told her: “Remember that yours is an exceptional case. I’m doing this because you are pregnant.”
The judge warned Fabroa to leave Hong Kong today as her visa was expiring on the same day.
The appeal hearing did not last long as the judge had already heard the arguments on July 14 when Fabroa first appeared in court to apply for leave to appeal beyond the allowed period.
The judge told Fabroa to return to court with two documents: her pregnancy test result and her plane ticket to the Philippines. The Filipina was also told to ask Shatin magistrate Colin Wong his reasons for convicting her of the offence.
Fabroa was arrested in July 26 last year after she served two immigration officers who posed as customers at the Big Mama restaurant in Shaukeiwan owned by her employer. Fabroa, who was wearing an apron, took their order, served their food and accepted their payment. But when questioned, she said she was just helping a Filipino staff in the restaurant at the time.
She was charged with breaching her conditions of stay but was allowed bail after spending time in detention.
The judge was moved to help after learning that the Filipina was turned away by Hong Kong hospitals when she needed a checkup because she had no Hong Kong ID, just her recognizance paper by Immigration.
Before her release, Fabroa was asked if she any question, and she said she wanted to know if she can work again in Hong Kong after giving birth.
An immigration lawyer who was in court said it was possible for long-term employees but on a case-by-case basis. He cited as precedent a convicted maid who was allowed back by Immigration because she had been taking care of an elderly man for a long time.

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