Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Life sentence for girl’s murderer causes uproar

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Social commentators expressed frustration with the judicial system and castigated Taipei District Court judges following yesterday’s first ruling in a case regarding last year’s murder of a young girl in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), in which Wang Ching-yu (王景玉) received a life sentence.

The parents of the girl, nicknamed “Little Light Bulb” (小燈泡), were unavailable for comment and did not attend the ruling announcement.

However, prior to the ruling’s announcement, the girl’s father said: “We do not want to express our opinion. The judges will have their viewpoints.”

During the trial, Wang knelt down to ask for forgiveness, but the girl’s mother did not look at him and remained silent.

“It was too early to talk about forgiveness,” she later said.

Victims’ rights advocates expressed indignation, saying it was difficult to accept the judgement, while pundits pointed to an urgent need for judicial reform.

Wang Wei-chun (王薇君), who started a children’s rights advocacy group after her two-year-old niece was tortured to death in 2011, said that while she could not speak on behalf of Little Light Bulb’s parents, she could not accept another ruling in which “a child killer escapes the death penalty and receives only a life term.”

Social commentator Lucifer Chu (朱學恒) said the nation’s justice system is rotten to the core, “like a person close to death from a terminal illness.”

Chu cited a number of cases in which convicted murderers received life sentences, but were released on parole after 20 years.

“In this case, medical experts concluded that the defendant is at high risk of committing another crime if released. Why do judges continue to believe that convicts sentenced to life in prison will actually remain in jail?” he said.

Coalition Against Abolishing the Death Penalty convener Chen Cheng-yu (陳正育) expressed anger at judges for following international human rights conventions and not handing down the death sentence in major cases.

“Our nation’s laws should take precedent over international laws,” Chen said. “Judges would be respected if they would take the responsibility required by their duties and impose capital punishment when needed.”

Although Taiwan has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, such conventions should serve only as reference and not take precedent over the nation’s laws, he said.

Wang Pei-chi (王珮綺), who became a children’s protection advocate after a man slit her nephew’s throat in a random killing in 2012, told reporters that she deplored yesterday’s ruling.

“This kind of result gives killers incentive and protects criminals through leniency. The judges have shown their disregard for the safety and lives of our children,” she said.

She said the nation’s judges seem to have sympathy for criminals.

“They feel society has wronged these criminals, and that there is always chance for rehabilitation... But they ignore the suffering of the victims and their families,” she added.

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