Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers have proposed amendments to the Criminal Code to bar offenders who have consumed alcohol or illegal drugs before their deeds from receiving acquittals or reduced sentences.
Citing the example of the High Court acquitting a man surnamed Liang (梁), who in 2018 stabbed his mother to death and decapitated her, KMT Legislator Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) on Wednesday said that “Liang was convicted of murder, receiving a life term in the first ruling.”
“The High Court’s second ruling in August acquitted him, as the judges said that Liang had no control over his actions due to a drug-induced psychosis after consuming amphetamines,” Wan said.
The High Court ruling was based on Article 19 of the Criminal Code, which states that an offense is not punishable if the person who committed it has a mental disorder or disability that renders them unable or less able to judge their actions.
The High Prosecutors’ Office appealed the High Court ruling on Tuesday, citing four major flaws. The Supreme Court subsequently ordered a retrial by the High Court.
“The High Court’s acquittal led to a huge public outcry. People are worried that offenders will have impunity. If an offender gets drunk or takes drugs, and then kills someone, the courts would not convict them,” Wan said. “Article 19 of the Criminal Code needs to be fixed.”
KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) also said that an amendment to the article is needed.
KMT Legislator Wen Yu-hsia (溫玉霞) said that she plans to propose an amendment to stipulate that conditions for an acquittal or a reduced sentence cannot be applied for offenders who carry out random attacks or kill public officials on duty.
“If mental disorders are considered a reason for an acquittal, offenders can kill people with impunity. It is like encouraging criminals to do so, to copy the behavior and carry out more crimes,” she said. “This loophole must be closed to put the public at ease.”
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