30 June 2014

Baucau District Court applies a suspended sentence that does not reflect Article 68 of the Penal Code

ETLJB 30/06/2014 From JSMP 06 February 2014 - On 29 January 2014 the Baucau District Court conducted a hearing to examine evidence and proceeded to announce its decision against the defendant AJM who committed the crime of a simple offence against physical integrity characterized as domestic violence against her husband EM.

The public prosecutor alleged that on 11 January 2013 the defendant argued with the victim about their children, due to the fact the victim intended to take the children to Quelekai. Without justification the defendant then took a piece of wood and hit the victim on the left side of his back and  leg causing injury to the victim’s  back and swelling to his leg.

In court the defendant admitted that all of the facts alleged by the public prosecutor were true, expressed regret for her actions and testified that she has been trying to reconcile with the victim, however the victim has refused, so they are living separately.

In his final statement the public prosecutor requested for the court to sentence the defendant to 3 months jail, to be suspended for 6 months, because the defendant admitted all of the facts, regretted her actions and tried to reconcile with the victim, however the victim refused.

The public defender requested for the court to hand down a fair punishment because the defendant had cooperated with the court. After hearing the sentencing recommendations of the prosecutor and public defender the court decided the matter and sentenced the defendant to 4 months in prison, suspended for 6 months.

“JSMP has observed that the public prosecutors and the courts are often inconsistent in their application of Article 68 of the Penal Code, because they have been applying suspended sentences that do not reflect the minimum and maximum sentences set out in the law”, said the Executive Director of JSMP, Luis de Oliveira Sampaio.

Article 68.1 of the Penal Code states that the court may suspend execution of a prison sentence that does not exceed 3 years for a period between 1 and 5 years, to be counted from the time the final decision was rendered. JSMP hopes that each court will consistently apply the provisions set out in the Penal Code and the applicable procedures to avoid inconsistencies in practice.

This case was registered with the court as Case No. 237/Crm.S/2013/TDB. The hearing was presided over by single judge Antonio Fonseca Monteiro. The Public Prosecution Service was represented by Aderito Tilman, and the defendant was represented by public defender Gregorio de Lima. Source: JSMP Press Release 04 February 2014 

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