ETLJB 08 November 2013 - The tragic social problem of infanticide in East Timor has been monitored by the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin for several years. Concerning a case of infanticide that was brought before the Dili District Court, the East Timor Judicial System Monitoring Program has criticised the imposition of a suspended sentence in a case of infanticide in East Timor saying that such a sentence will not be a deterrent to prevent future cases. The text of the JSMP press release follows.
On 05 November 2013 the Dili District Court conducted a hearing in a case
of infanticide committed by the defendant FS against her own child in
The public prosecutor alleged that on the evening of 10 February 2004 the
defendant gave birth to a boy and then the defendant let the child to
stop breathing by failing to cut the umbilical cord. Once the child had
stopped breathing the defendant wrapped up the body in her own clothing
and placed it in a plastic bag that was then tightly secured.
On 11 February 2004 at approximately 9am the defendant took the body and
threw it in the rubbish. This case occurred because the defendant was
ashamed of having had the child and was concerned with the opinions of
her family and the neighbors.
The public prosecutor charged the defendant with Article 142 of the Penal
Code on infanticide which carries a penalty of 3 - 10 years
“JSMP understands that there were “extraordinary/exceptional” factors
that compelled the defendant to commit the aforementioned crime. However,
the murder of a baby is a serious crime because an innocent baby has
suffered the consequence of the defendant’s actions”, said the
Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.
During the trial the defendant testified that all of the evidence
presented and charged by the public prosecutor was true.
Based on witness testimony the autopsy on the baby found that there was
no evidence of choking or the use of a sharp object to injure the
The witness emphasized that the baby died because the defendant placed it
in plastic and the baby then passed away.
Witness testimony was provided by the defendant’s boyfriend who stated
that he had no knowledge of the defendant committing the act
because they were not living together. However he admitted having had
sexual intercourse with the defendant.
Based on these mitigating circumstances and the evidence presented during
the trial the public prosecutor requested for the court to sentence the
defendant to 1 years’ imprisonment, to be suspended for 2 years.
“JSMP believes that the public prosecutor must ensure that the
recommendation of sentence is proportional to the seriousness of the
criminal offence committed to prevent similar crimes from occurring in
the future. JSMP urges the prosecutor to examine the motive behind the
incident”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira
The public defender stated that the defendant was a first time offender,
and therefore requested for the court to acquit the defendant. However in
the event that the court viewed the matter differently, then
the public defender recommended that a sentence of 6 months
imprisonment to be suspended for 1 year would be appropriate.
This case was registered as Case No:517/2011/TDD and was presided over by
judges Jose Maria Araújo, Julio Gantes (international) and Francisca
Martins. The Public Prosecution service was represented by Gloria da
Silva (international) and the defendant was represented by public
defender Câncio Xavier. The court clerk assigned to this proceeding was
The hearing to announce the final decision will take place on 26 November
2013 at 3pm.
Source: JSMP Press Release 09/11/2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright
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