The law is an ass
Having traveled extensively during my life and spent time in a number of foreign countries, I am rarely shocked by human activities. However, the recent activities of the judiciary in Taiwan have succeeded in shocking me (“Stricter penalties for pedophiles being mulled, Sept. 4, page 1).
While corruption and stupidity spare no field of human endeavor, the judges referred to in the article show such a lack of sympathy for helpless, innocent victims and such ignorance that the only possible solution is to demand their immediate retirement. They have made a mockery of justice, turned Taiwan into an international laughing stock and understandably outraged the public.
Everybody justifiably considers pedophilia to be a horrifying crime since it targets the most helpless members of a society — the children — who are physically, mentally and psychologically incapable of dealing with such an assault. Acts of this nature psychologically scar the victims for life, while the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are released after a few short years to restart their lives free of the scarring they inflicted upon their victims.
The crime of sexually assaulting a child should be deemed one of the worst crimes in any civilized society and deserves to be punished to the full letter of the law. This is universally true, except in Taiwan apparently, where these abominable criminals are given lenient sentences by moronic judges.
One such Kaohsiung judge, faced with a defendant who had sexually violated a six-year-old girl with his hands, handed down a lenient sentence because the crime was actually “having sex with a person under 14 years of age” rather than “sexual assault,” which carries a longer jail term. This “learned” judge’s reasoning: the young child “did not show a strong will” in fighting off her attacker. This idiotic logic never explained how a six-year-old could possibly be expected to handle a situation most adults would find overwhelming.
The explanation was that there were mitigating circumstances: namely, that the perpetrator did not use violence. Such twisted thinking and inhumane attitude should preclude this so-called judge from handling judicial matters in Taiwan.
Why would anyone need to use violence to subdue a six-year-old girl? Rather than facing the full fury of an outraged society and the penalty befitting a terrible crime, the defendant was given a three-year sentence. The uproar which resulted, led to a promise “to reflect and improve” on the part of the judiciary. Perhaps the criminal made the same promise.
The Supreme Court asked the Taiwan High Court to reconsider a similar case, where the perpetrator who had assaulted a three-year-old girl was given a seven-year sentence. The court was asked to reconsider the sentence as “sexual assault.” Because “the young girl did not resist the offender” it was rather another case of “having sex with a person under 14 years of age.”
This level of ignorance is simply staggering. What normal person could conceivably expect a three-year-old to resist?
Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正) correctly pointed out that the problem was not the laws, as these judges claimed, but the judges themselves. There is no formal system for evaluating judges or “weeding out unsuitable judges,” according to Foundation of Hope executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容). Until there is, Taiwan will continue to be a laughing stock, the public will continue to be outraged, and pedophiles will continue to be coddled.
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