Review of mandatory death penalty allows court discretion under two specific conditions
Posted by temasektimes on July 10, 2012
Following rising public concern and opposition at the use of the mandatory death penalty in Singapore, the government has proceeded to review it and parliament was given an update of the review in relation to laws related to drug offences and certain types of homicides on Monday.
Speaking to the House, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said that all executions that have come due since the review started in July 2011, have been deferred.
“The death penalty has been an important part of our criminal justice system for a very long time, similar to the position in a number of other countries. Singaporeans understand that the death penalty has been an effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment for very serious offences, and largely support it. As part of our penal framework, it has contributed to keeping crime and the drug situation under control,” he said.
Though the mandatory death penalty would continue to apply in most circumstances, the courts now have the discretion to decide if it is applied under two specific, tightly-defined conditions.
These conditions are: firstly, the trafficker must have only played the role of courier, and must not have been involved in any other activity related to the supply or distribution of drugs; secondly, discretion will only apply if having satisfied the first requirement, either the trafficker has cooperated with the Central Narcotics Bureau in a substantive way, or he has a mental disability which substantially impairs his appreciation of the gravity of the act.
“The government’s duty is first and foremost to provide a safe and secure living environment for Singaporeans to bring up their families. We must be constantly vigilant, adapt our law enforcement strategies and deterrence and punishment regime to remain ahead of criminals,” he added.