Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MOJ plans to close loophole, prevent convicts running off

FLEET OF FOOT:The current system gives a window of opportunity from when sentence is passed to when the convict goes to prison

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Justice yesterday said it plans to amend laws to allow certain convicts to be detained prior to the beginning of their prison sentences following recent incidents in which two convicted former lawmakers failed to appear to begin serving their prison terms.

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) and former independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu (羅福助), convicted in separate cases, failed to report to prosecutors for prison last week and have gone missing since.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) said yesterday the ministry plans to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) to allow prosecutors to issue arrest warrants for those found guilty in final verdicts and are sentenced to prison terms of more than two years.

Under the current system, prosecutors have to summon convicted individuals who are not in detention at the time of sentencing. If the person fails to report to the prosecutors’ office to begin serving their sentences, the court issues an arrest warrant.

However, the gap between the time of conviction and imprisonment provides a gray area of which convicts may take advantage.

Chen said the ministry would discuss the proposed amendment with the Judicial Yuan as early as this week, expressing hope the judicial branch would support the draft. The draft would then need approval from the Executive Yuan before being sent to the legislature.

Additional reporting by CNA

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