Thu, May 03, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Judicial Yuan bill aims to counteract convicts absconding

FUGITIVES:The bill seeks to remove the gap between sentencing and beginning a sentence for offenders who get more than two years’ jail time

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Judicial Yuan yesterday finalized a bill that would allow authorities to detain certain convicts prior to them beginning their prison sentences in the wake of two convicted former lawmakers failing to show up to begin serving their prison terms.

The Judicial Yuan said it completed an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) suggested by the Ministry of Justice that would give prosecutors the power to issue arrest warrants for those found guilty in final verdicts and who are sentenced to prison terms of more than two years, as soon as the sentence is handed down.

The bill is to be sent to the Executive Yuan for approval, before being sent to the legislature.

The Judicial Yuan said the ministry had suggested prosecutors be allowed to monitor convicts awaiting a final verdict using electronic tags and other means, but as no consensus had been reached on that issue, the Judicial Yuan did not include it in the amendment.

Under the current system, prosecutors have to summon convicted individuals who are not in detention at the time of sentencing.

If a person fails to report to the prosecutors’ office to begin serving a sentence, prosecutors issue an arrest warrant.

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

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker Chiang Lien-fu (江連福) and former independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu (羅福助), who were convicted in unrelated cases, failed to report to prosecutors to start serving prison sentences last month and they have not been seen since.

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