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Law Minister K Shanmugam said that the law will lose its reliability and become tough to administer when punishment executed in criminal cases does not echo the weight of public opinion with society at large finding it discriminating.
He added that does not means that the law would bow to public pressure. In order to understand where the weight of public opinion is you and reflect what the people feel is the correct penalty you enhance the penalty thus conduct what should be more severely punished.
Mr K Shanmugam said , “Penalties and criminal laws can only be enforced if people believe that they are fair and that certain conduct ought to be made criminal … Otherwise they lose credibility.”
A public outcry due to observations that the sentences deal out were too light in the couple of high profile cases, such as the ones involving sex offender Joshua Robinson and the City Harvest Church leadership.
An online petition appealing for a harsher sentence for Robinson has since gathered almost 30,000 signatories. After Robinson was sentenced to four years’ jail for having sex with two 15-year-old girls.
As a result Shanmugam is guiding his ministries to re-examine punishments for sex offenders, as well to evaluate laws on other offences.
In the recent of due to a Singaporean couple who were jailed for starving their maid over a period of 15 months, he make know that this month in Parliament a assessment of the laws relating to the abuse of foreign domestic workers was done.
While the wife was sentenced to three months’ jail,the husband was sentenced to three weeks’ jail and fined S$10,000.
Even so that these reviews should not be taken as an prosecution of the work of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
In the case of offences that have been flagged recently for review drugs, drink-driving, and false and malicious allegations against public officers Shanmugam said public reaction to individual cases will not automatically lead to a review of the laws.
But the minister said Shanmugam added that public reaction to individual cases does not automatically lead to a review of the laws, pointing out that drugs, drink-driving, and false and malicious allegations against public officers are some offences that have been flagged recently for review.