Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where is the justice?

Bangkok Post: Tuesday February 28, 2006
Court upholds Pipat's sentence

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a two-year suspended jail sentence handed down by a lower court on a university lecturer whose attack on his wife led to her death in 2001.
Pipat Lueprasithsakul was found guilty of physically assaulting his wife in 2001 following a heated row, causing her to suffer fatal
Shortly after the attack, Pipat, who was employed by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), fled to Laos and Vietnam. He turned himself in three months later to face the charges against him.
The court ruled in 2002 that Pipat receive a two-year suspended sentence on three years parole on the condition he carry out 50 hours of community service by teaching at an educational institution. The verdict drew widespread criticism. Prosecutors acting on behalf of the victim's family chose to appeal the sentence in the same year.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Pipat, 47, did not intend to kill his wife, but was overcome with anger after discovering that she had gone out to meet an ex-boyfriend. The court said Pipat ought to get a lenient sentence because he had confessed to the crime all along. It was felt he should also get the chance for rehabilitation and the opportunity to raise his children.
Mr Pipat, now a guest lecturer at Rangsit University, was delighted by the decision.
Pipat said he had completed 50 hours community service by giving lectures at the Naval Medical Department and spending 40 hours teaching children affected by the Dec 26, 2004 tsunami.
Women's rights activist Ticha na Nakhon said she feared the case would be detrimental in dealing with cases of domestic violence. The Women's and Constitution Network would hold a seminar on the ruling so the public could learn about the legal aspects of domestic violence.

In campaigning against the death penalty we in no way deny the justice of proportionate punishment against those who kill another person.Teaching at an educational institution is an honourable profession. 50 hours of teaching would be a normal workload of one month for a staff member in a college or university.
Where is the balance of justice which weighs such a task against the vicious beating to death of a wife, which no extenuating circumstance can condone. A one month teaching load cannot pay the debt to society created by such a crime. Our campaign against the death penalty is based on an inalienable respect for the value of human life. The same respect for human life demands proportionate punishment for one who deprives another of life.

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