Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 3 News List

High Court upholds life sentence for child killer

LIFE OVER DEATH:Despite denials by the convicted killer that he has any mental illness, three psychiatrists said they are more than 50 percent certain that he does

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The High Court yesterday upheld a life sentence handed down to Kung Chung-an (龔重安) for the murder of an eight-year-old girl at a Taipei school two years ago, along with deprivation of his civil rights for life. It was the second ruling on the case and can be appealed.

In the original indictment, public prosecutors requested the death penalty, saying that Kung had carried out “one of the most serious of crimes” deserving of capital punishment.

Kung randomly slashed the throat of a child who could not defend herself, prosecutors said, which led to heightened public fear for children’s safety in schools.

The Shilin District Court sentenced Kung to life in prison in the first ruling in February last year, which he appealed.

Investigators and eyewitnesses said that Kung, then 29, entered Wenhua Elementary School in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) in May 2015 by jumping over a wall and followed the girl, surnamed Liu (劉), into the school bathroom.

Kung, who was carrying a kitchen knife, cut the girl’s throat. She died in a hospital the following day, the ruling said.

During the trial, Kung said he had no mental illness or psychological disorder.

However, in yesterday’s ruling, judges cited assessments by psychiatrists from three different hospitals that said with more than 50 percent certainty that Kung suffered psychosis and related mental illnesses, but had not received any treatment.

Kung was given a life sentence instead of the death sentence, because “although he carried out a cruel murder of a child, if he had received treatment, including medication and proper psychiatric counseling, it would have been possible to remedy his psychological disorder,” the court said. “Through rehabilitation serving a jail sentence, there is a possibility of reintegration back into society.”

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