Jail-time cut for guilty pleas
Criminals who plead guilty within six weeks of their arrest could get a 40 percent reduction in their prison sentence under a proposal aimed at reducing the backlog at courts in one Australian state. South Australian Attorney-General John Rau said yesterday that late guilty pleas were a major contributor to delays and inefficiencies in the trial process. The 40 percent reduction in term length would apply for someone pleading guilty within six weeks of arrest, while a 30 percent cut would apply for a later plea that still comes before a trial is set. A 20 percent reduction would be given for guilty pleas entered after trial committal proceedings. Rau said the proposal would not apply to the most serious of crimes, including violent assaults and sex crimes.
Norwegian jailed 18 months
A court yesterday jailed a 63-year-old Norwegian man for 18 months on charges of paying for sex with a teenage boy in Siem Reap, the country’s northwestern tourist hub. Sletten Rolf was arrested in January in the province — home to the famed Angkor Wat temples — for soliciting paid sex with a 16-year-old boy last year. The provincial court sentenced Rolf to three years in prison, but ordered half the term to be suspended. Cambodia’s age of consent is 15, but all payment for sex is illegal. Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for pedophiles, putting dozens of foreigners in jail for child sex crimes or deporting them to face trial in their home countries since 2003.
Kashmir under tight curfew
Thousands of Indian police and paramilitary forces enforced a strict curfew in much of Kashmir yesterday after security forces shot dead four protesters, police and witnesses said. Government forces have struggled to contain almost three months of violent demonstrations by Kashmiris ignited by the killing of a 17-year-old student by police on June 11. Four people were killed Monday in the northern village of Palhalan when security forces opened fire on protesters during fresh demonstrations against Indian rule in Kashmir. Residents told visiting reporters that the protests were peaceful and that no one was throwing stones at the time of the shooting.
Violence continues in south
Five people have been killed and four wounded in Thailand’s restive Muslim south, police said yesterday, the latest upsurge in violence blamed on separatist militants. The attacks, which included drive-by shootings and a roadside bombing, took place late on Monday and early yesterday and targeted both Muslims and the region’s minority Buddhists. The attacks took the death toll to 18 in the past 10 days, with 37 people wounded, according to police data.
Trainee pilot crashes, dies
A female trainee pilot died when the light aircraft she was flying crashed in southern Johor state, Malaysian police said yesterday. The two-seater light aircraft, owned by the KL International Flying Academy, took off on a training flight from Senai International Airport at 8:56am and crashed 20 minutes later at the foot of a mountain. “We have recovered the body of the female trainee pilot from the aircraft while the male instructor, who survived the crash, has been sent to a local hospital,” district police chief Zulkefly Yahya said.