[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jan 16 23:26:21 CST 2008
JUDGE HITS HANGING----'Not the answer to crime'
THE death penalty is not the answer to crime and will not reduce criminal
activity, according to Appeal Court Judge Stanley John.
Commenting on the Government's intention to amend the laws dealing with
the death penalty, John told the Express yesterday that crime remains a
societal problem that cannot be reduced by the re-introduction of the
"I don't think statistics and experts would agree that the death penalty
is a deterrent, but if the Government wants to reintroduce the death
penalty, that's the right of the Government," he said following a
prize-giving ceremony yesterday at Fatima College, Mucurapo.
"I think that because of the fear citizens live in, they want to see the
reintroduction of the death penalty anyway, but it is not the answer to
John added that since crime is a societal problem, citizens must play
their part within the framework of the law to reduce crime.
During his address to the Fatima awardees yesterday, John said morality
was at its lowest ebb in Trinidad and Tobago, and called on the pupils to
work hard to avoid adding to the crime statistics.
"Our society is going downhill at an unprecedented rate... you are the
only hope for this country. You must be the architects for a new Trinidad
and Tobago," he said.
Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, meanwhile, said the implementation of the
death penalty was a matter to be dealt with by the Executive branch of the
The Executive branch of the Government, of which President George Maxwell
Richards is the head while the Cabinet, which is led by Prime Minister
Patrick Manning, controls the direction of the Government.
Sharma distanced the Judicial branch of the Government from any decision
to be made on the death penalty issue while speaking to reporters at the
Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, yesterday, after the handing-over ceremony
of the Domestic Violence Investigative and Procedural Manual and Report.
Asked if he had any comment on Manning's announcement that the Government
plans to change the law to ensure the death penalty is carried out in
Trinidad and Tobago, Sharma responded, "I have nothing to say on that.
That's a matter for the Executive."
But John and Sharma were not the only people who had something to say
about Manning's impending action.
Following are some of the responses from varying members of society:
Senior Counsel Martin Daly
It would be possible to legislate to remove the restrictions placed by the
Privy Council on the carrying out of the death penalty, but it is a very
technical exercise and there is no guarantee the Privy Council itself
would not place new restrictions on the implementation of the new
All these references to the death penalty are just a distraction away from
the real issue that the police are incapable of catching any of the
Whatever they are thinking of doing with the death penalty, it will be
sometime before it will be effective. People will be challenging it in the
courts and those challenges would take some time to be resolved.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan
What the Honourable Prime Minister is saying is that the death penalty is
on the law books. However, the decision in Pratt and Morgan from the Privy
Council has placed constraints on the authorities in the carrying out of
the death penalty, and every effort would be made to carry out the law of
the land, which is the death penalty.
I am of the view that murder should be classified as first degree, second
degree and third degree. And first degree should be classified for
deliberate, vicious and wicked murders and the killing of police
constables and so on.
And the death penalty should be reserved for 1st degree murder, and life
imprisonment for 2nd and 3rd degree.
Noble Khan, public relations officer of Inter-Religious Organisation
I do not think that we should go the way of just looking to see how we
could execute a person without reviewing the whole ethos in which our
country exists, particularly in the national field where we have the
rights of life coming to the forefront.
One would think that a review of the system with genuine participation of
all stakeholders, the entire nation, would take place and a balance struck
between the redemptive and punitive elements in any justice system.
My own view is that in extremely vicious cases of criminal intent (the
perpetrator) might be a candidate for taking this ultimate action. Very
often against a background of what we see here, it might be a sort of
"knee jerk" thing.
The multi-disciplinary and multi-causal techniques that are available
should be explored.
David Abdulah, president of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and
Non Governmental Organisations (FITUN)
What we expect is that the Government, in the debate in the House of
Representatives, would present a comprehensive list of measures to address
the crime situation and that these measures need to be holistic, they have
to all relate one to the other and they have to have identifiable
We don't like the approach of very vague and general comments being made
in an ad hoc manner. And the statement by the Prime Minister yesterday
(Tuesday) can be categorised in that way.
Imtiaz Ali, president of San Juan Business Association
I support the implementation of the death penalty and also I propose in
addition that you increase penalties for other serious crimes. And I also
propose that we introduce corporal punishment in jails for serious crimes.
I also propose that people who give false testimony in terms of serious
crimes also face the same penalty of those who they gave false testimony
against. I agree (the death penalty) is a serious deterrent to crime.
Karen de Montbrun, president of Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers'
If the main objective is a reduction in violent crime, we need to examine
the empirical evidence (without emotion) on whether or not carrying out
the Death Penalty has a direct impact on the level of crime.
All laws in Trinidad and Tobago need to be upheld, many of which will have
a direct impact on the reduction of crime-traffic laws, use of firearms,
litter laws, breathalyser etc. We need to work on the dismal detection and
conviction rates first and foremost, and adopt a zero-tolerance approach
Laws should not be amended or changed without in-depth analysis, public
consultation and dialogue.
The Keith Noel 136 Committee, in a release:
In reference to the out of control crime situation, the Prime Minister
recently made the statement that his Government will try and try again
until it succeeds.
We are wondering, therefore, if Mr Manning's very bold statement to the
Chamber of Industry and Commerce, on the reintroduction of hanging
convicted murderers is yet another "thing" that he is trying.
The Keith Noel 136 Committee once again calls for the return to the "ABCs"
of proper police work, putting trained officers on the streets of the
nation, strict management and accountability from the police service and a
very supportive, but responsible, administration.
(source: Trinidad Express)
Newspaper Man Cleared 47 Years After Execution
Cho Yong-soo, the late founder of the Minjok Ilbo, who was executed in the
early 1960s on charges of supporting North Korean policies.
A court on Wednesday exonerated a newspaper chief who was executed during
the early 1960s on charges of siding with the North Korean regime. The
Seoul Central Court cleared Cho Yong-soo, the head of the Minjok Ilbo, who
was arrested by the military junta led by Gen. Park Chung-hee, later to
become president, and accused of violating the special crime law in 1961.
The bench said the special crime law applied to key officials of political
parties and social organizations. But the Minjok Ilbo was a profit-making
organization, not a non-profit social body. Nor was there any evidence
that he had sided with the communist state.
Cho's younger brother Yong-joon thanked the bench for a "wise" decision.
He pledged to file a civic suit against the nation. But the bench rejected
Cho Yong-joon's claim that the special crime law was unconstitutional in
itself. Cho Yong-soo, a Korean-Japanese, established the progressive
Minjok Ilbo in February 1961. Only 3 months later, the May 16 military
coup took place and the military junta forced Cho to shut down his
newspaper. Cho was accused of praising North Korean activities and siding
with the communist country as a member of a leftwing party. The special
crime law was enacted after Cho's arrest but applied retroactively against
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2006 recommended that the court
review the Cho Yong-soo case. And the younger brother of the victim filed
an appeal in April last year. Launched in December 2005, the commission
recommended court reviews in 17 cases. Among them, the court accepted 2
recommendations for review -- the present case and the case of the alleged
North Korean spy Lee Soo-geun.
(source: English Chosun)
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