The current review of homicide laws may well lead to a reduction in the number of cases that draw the death penalty, lawyers say.
The Law Society believes the review is significant as it would literally mean the “difference between life and death”.
Last month, Law Minister K. Shanmugam provided details about the committee reviewing homicide laws, that he announced in Parliament in March last year.
The review is considering creating a special set of laws to deal with offenders who cause death as a result of violent crimes such as rape, crimes committed against young people and those committed by gangs.
The committee, chaired by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah, is also looking at how to deal with mentally disabled offenders.
A Law Ministry spokesman told The Sunday Times that the exercise is part of “the continual review of legislation that the government conducts”.
He added: “We take into account feedback received from the legal fraternity, both generally and in the context of specific law reform exercises.”
He pointed out that the current homicide laws stemmed from the 1860 Indian Penal Code.
“How the criminal law views culpability has changed considerably since then,” he added.
“The law could benefit from a relook in the light of these changes. The overall intention is to ensure the law draws appropriate distinctions between offenders of different culpability, and assigns punishment proportionately.
“The review will also take into account public order considerations. An example is death caused in the context of violent group crimes. What each individual member of the group knew or did is often unclear, and traditional concepts of individual liability may not be adequate.
“Another area is whether deaths caused in the context of certain crimes such as rape, should be punished more severely.”
Wendell Wong, chairman of the Law Society’s criminal practice committee, said its submissions called for the reduction of the categories of homicide cases where the death penalty may apply.
“It is our hope that this review will generally lead to a narrowing of the number of homicide cases that attract the death penalty.”
He added that the review is significant as the potential benefits impact not only offenders but also their families. “It is literally about the difference between life and death.”He noted that the review enabled public policy issues to be considered “upfront and with the input of various stakeholders in the criminal justice system. If the death penalty no longer applies in certain homicide offences, then the judges need not consider such a punishment in those offences at all.”
(Source: The Straits Times, Feb. 3, 2014)
Opposition Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Sylvia Lim asked if the mandatory death penalty should apply even when there was an intention to kill. As an example, she highlighted the difference between a hired contract killer and an accused who was unable to get over a serious, long-time betrayal of a marriage partner.
Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam responded: “But the fact is even in the latter situation, it is deliberate, cold-blooded, intentional killing. Because if it is not cold-blooded and intentional, if it is on the spur on moment, there is a defence, Ms Lim knows that – if there is provocation. There are other defences as well, self-defence, provocation.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA
June 15, 2012 Source : http://edition.myjoyonline.com
A 28–year old Ghanaian lady is to face the death penalty if convicted for allegedly possessing narcotic drugs in Singapore.
The suspect, Nana Boadiwaa Ahenkora, was said to have hidden 2.8 kilogramme of crystal methamphetamine in 12 lead piston nylon bags popularly called Ghana must go.
She was arrested by the Central Narcotic Bureau of Singapore at the Changi Airport with the drugs.
A source at the Narcotic Control Board who revealed this to the Ghanaian Times in Accra Thursday, said Boadiwaa had been charged with drug trafficking, following her arrest on May 21.
According to the source, she could face death penalty if convicted of the ofence.
The source said Boadiwaa who departed from Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on May 19 aboard an Emirate Airline, claimed a Custom Officer at KIA facilitated her passage through security checks.
It said on arrival at the Changi Airport, an X-ray detected anomalies in the scanned images of the pistons in her luggage, and when her luggage was opened, the drugs were found hidden in plastic packets, while eight others were found in her possession.