Reported by Alexander Chiu and Shengwen Lee for CNEWS, Taipei
Legislator of Kuomintang Chinese Nationalist Party, Chiang Wanan questioned whether the liability for causing death by negligence is too mild. Noticing the dust explosion at the Formosa Fun Coast water park, the derailment of the Taroko train, and the apartment fire, we can see that the respective major public security incidents have caused the fragmentation of several families. This leads to the discussion and doubts from the society, who skepticize whether the penalty for death by negligence is far too light.
Chiang Wanan said that he specifically pointed out in the public hearing which was held by the Legislative Yuan’s Organic Laws and Statutes Committee on “Discussing the Criminal Law of Negligent Homicide According to the Recent Major Public Security Casualties” that regardless of the seriousness of the negligent homicide, the maximum sentence is only up to five years. It is indeed too light. Not only did this situation make judges frustrated but it is also unacceptable by the public.
Chiang Wanan indicated that six years later, we are still spinning our wheels. Today, whether it is the crime of business negligence in the era of the old law or the current general crime of negligence, the maximum penalty is only five years. There is a huge gap between the penalty of general crime of negligence and that of criminal homicide, which the minimum penalty is ten-year imprisonment. It also makes the problem of lightness of law emerge.
Regarding this revision, three suggestions are put forward by Chiang Wanan:
- The draft amendment of the Executive Yuan states that they will aggravate criminal liability on the “major-plot” cases. However, what is defined as major-plot cases? It should conform to the Principle of Legal Certainty, which the requirements of the law should be clearly written and specific.
- The gap between the current penalties for the crimes causing death by criminal negligence and homicide must be revised through law amendments, and different culpability should be well-distinguished with reasonable sentence.
- Revise the law and pass the third reading as soon as possible to fix the loopholes in the system so that everyone can increase their obligation of awareness, preventing serious casualties from happening.
Chiang Wanan explained that he had already proposed the draft amendment regarding this issue in the 9th session, hoping to increase the penalty for death by negligence to seven years. Unfortunately, it was not adopted at that time. The Legislative Yuan should implement laws to prevent tragedies from happening, rather than being pushed to amend the law after the major crime occurs. From the perspective of legislators, they should comprehensively examine the deficiencies of the current system and complete the legal system so that history will not repeat itself.
Regarding this, Wang Chih-ya, an adviser of the Taipei City Government, also believes that sentences of death by negligence should conform to the Principle of Proportionality. There were no laws in charge when the incident happened, and the plot was major, but the definition was unclear. The consortium can easily finesse the legal system through its loopholes, and the safety of the people does not seem to be the major concern of the governments. She questioned why the Le Méridien Taipei hotel has no obligation to save people? She further advocated that the Legislative Yuan should amend public security decrees as soon as possible so that the decrees can truly protect the people who abide by the law. The public safety law of hotels is imperative.
As for the case at the Le Méridien Taipei hotel, Wang Chih-ya’s younger brother Wang Ching-chieh went to the swimming pool at the Le Méridien Taipei hotel in July last year. After swimming for a while, he felt unwell. He then asked for help after going ashore, indicating that he needed medical help. However, the hotel staff never notified the ambulance, and only asked Wang if he wanted to call a taxi. It wasn’t until over 40 minutes passed, which Wang had passed away that the hotel staff called an ambulance. Unfortunately, it was too late. What makes the Wang family resentful is that after Wang’s death, not only did the hotel representative never apologize, but they also bluntly announced: “Sue if you want!” The passive and arrogant attitude is intolerable.
Photo credit: facebook.com/chiangwanan、CNEWS Press Kits、Google Map
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