Monday, 29 January 2007

Taiwan limits mandatory penalties

Taiwan has removed the mandatory death penalties from serious currency offences and several crimes against the armed forces, according to The China Post.

The Legislative Yuan amended the legislation on 22 December, giving judges discretion as to whether a convicted person should receive a life or a death sentence.

The amendments were introducted by You Ching, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who The China Post said "contended that the original provisions stipulating mandatory death sentences for such offenses left no room for judges to use their discretion when passing sentences that take human lives".

The newspaper said he argued judges should be given more flexibility to consider individual cases "objectively in order to mete out reasonable penalties".

The amended provisions were:
  • Article 3 of the Law on Punishment for Obstruction Against the National Currency, which had provided a mandatory the death penalty for a person convicted of counterfeiting banknotes and causing serious disturbance to the nation's monetary system
  • Article 27 and Article 66 of the Criminal Law of the Armed Forces. Under the previous Article 27, a mandatory death sentence was given to any member of the military who disobeyed orders at the front line. Article 66 had provided a mandatory death sentence for a person who fabricated orders, announcements or reports during wartime, causing harm to the military.

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