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Senior court official calls for more judicial fairness

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-07 08:15

Judges told to learn a case's background and to take social effects into account

A senior official of the Supreme People's Court underscored the importance of judicial fairness on Wednesday and called on all courts to improve their performance in criminal trials.

"People's increasing legal awareness has brought higher requirements to our judicial work, urging us to uphold justice and improve the quality of case hearings," said Shen Deyong, executive vice-president of the SPC.

Shen made the comment during a seminar on criminal trials on Wednesday in Shandong province, where a 22-year-old man's case recently aroused heated discussion.

Yu Huan, from Liaocheng, was convicted of intentional injury and given a life sentence on Feb 17 after he stabbed four debt collectors who confronted him and his mother last year. One of the injured later died.

Yu claimed he attacked the debt collectors after one of them exposed himself to his mother.

The case quickly went viral on social media, with many saying Yu's penalty was too harsh, as well as some criticizing how police handled the incident.

The Shandong High People's Court has accepted an appeal from Yu, while some police officers involved in the case were probed for alleged misconduct in the case.

"Courts should take initiative to echo public concerns when some rulings stir the public," Shen said.

Some controversies lie in the courts' unclear explanations of laws, while some are attributed to a lack of transparency in judicial procedures, according to Shen.

He compared the handling of such disputes to open classes, asking courts to use them to educate people about the law.

"What we can do is to improve our ability and efficiency of tackling cases and avoid verdicts that are obviously contrary to common sense," he said.

While clarifying the facts of a case, judges should learn to understand the background behind an incident and take the social effects that a judgment may cause into consideration, Shen said.

"But it doesn't mean making rulings contrary to laws or facts," he added.

In November, the top court approved the execution of a man named Jia Jinglong, who was convicted of murder in Hebei province, despite his case sparking controversy.

Jia was sentenced to death in 2015 after he killed his village chief with a gun.

Although some legal experts said Jia deserved a lenient penalty as the village head also committed wrongdoings in demolishing his house, the top court still approved the ruling by the lower court, as it had clear facts and sufficient evidence.

"The village chief's improper behaviors couldn't excuse Jia's actions and didn't mean he could be leniently punished for homicide," the court added.

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