Compulsory Treatment of the Criminally Insane

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May 1, 2013 China’s new Mental Health Law takes effect today, requiring new procedures for the civil commitment of China’s mentally ill and increased access to mental health care. At the same time, the news has been filled with stories of China’s other recent legislative change impacting the mentally ill, the revised Criminal Procedure Law. The new CPL which took effect on January 1, 2013, requires that a court be involved before any person found to not bear criminal responsibility by reason of insanity is given compulsory treatment. The mentally ill person must be found to present an ongoing danger to society that seriously endangers persons safety before compulsory treatment in a public security operated mental facility may be imposed.

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1. The nation’s first case of a court rejecting an application for compulsory medical treatment was reported by the legal daily on April 27. {Link Here} The Changsha, Furong district case involved a Mr. Huang who attacked women making cash withdrawals and ran off with their money. He was apprehended back in January while attempting to repeat the crime a third time in the same location within in just over a week. Legal daily summarizes:

据该案主审法官、刑事审判庭副庭长肖贞英介绍,经法定程序鉴定,黄某属于依法不负刑事责任的精神病人。 从其连续实施抢劫行为看,不排除继续危害社会可能。 但其在实施抢劫时,暴力程度较轻,未对被害人造成伤害后果,尚未达到“严重危害公民人身安全”程度,不符合强制医疗条件。 因此,决定驳回申请。

It is not clear from the report whether the process for evaluating Mr. Huang’s mental health began with the public security organs during investigation, the people’s procuratorate during their review or with the court at trial. It is also unclear where Mr. Huang has been since being taken into custody in January. The public security forces are permitted to take temporary protective measures while awaiting a court decision on compulsory treatment, and, in their own rules for implementing the new CPL, the public security organs grant themselves the power to have the patient treated. {link Article 333} .

Finally, while the court’s careful consideration of the new CPL’s requirements is wonderful to see, the current disposition of Mr. Huang shows how many questions the new CPL has left unanswered. He has been found to not bear criminal responsibility making criminal punishment inappropriate, but is also not so dangerous as to mandate compulsory treatment. Where then does Mr. Huang go? Home most likely. The Supreme People’s Court’s Interpretation of the CPL , Article 533(2) provides that where :

被告人属于依法不负刑事责任的精神病人,但不符合强制医疗条件的,应当判决宣告被告人无罪或者不负刑事责任;被告人已经造成危害结果的,应当同时责令其家属或者监护人严加看管和医疗;

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2. Beijing’s first case of a person being sent to compulsory treatment was reported on April 2. The defendant Mr. Song had pushed a Mr. Li in front of a subway train while both were waiting at the station.

Lawtime.cn reports:

海淀检方介绍,去年11月30日16时20分许,精神病人宋某在地铁2号线鼓楼大街站,将在站台候车的李某推下站台,致李某被进站列车碾轧受伤,多处骨折、血气胸、右下肺破裂、头部开放伤口等。 今年1月6日,宋某经鉴定,依法不负刑事责任,释放后被采取临时保护性约束措施。警方撤案后,于1月11日向海淀检方移送强制医疗意见书。

检方认为,根据今年1月1日起正式实施的新刑诉法,被申请人宋某实施故意杀人行为,严重危害公民人身安全,有继续危害社会的可能,向法院提出强制医疗申请。

案件未公开审理

庭审中,宋某的法定代理人提出,家人有条件治疗、看护宋某,并保证其不再发生危害社会的行为,请求法院驳回申请。

法院认为,宋某在2007年就被诊断为患有精神分裂症,其间虽经多方治疗但无明显好转,并曾连续多次无故辱骂、殴打他人,案发当天又在毫无缘由和征兆的情况下突然将他人推下地铁站台,其行为严重危害了他人人身和公共安全,具有现实的社会危险性。

近日,海淀法院做出准予对宋某强制医疗的决定。

据了解,仅今年3月,海淀法院已审结3件强制医疗案件,本案系首例。 在审理此类案件时,法院从保护被申请人个人隐私角度出发,对所有此类案件均不公开审理。

More recent reports indicate that Mr. Song’s family is demanding a reconsideration of the decision. Under the SPC’s interpretation of the CPL, the court has one month to issue a reconsideration decision.

3. Wenzhou also reported its first case of a defendant being sent for compulsory treatment.

都市报讯 王某杀害了朝夕相处40多年的妻子,经鉴定作案时患有精神分裂症,评定为无刑事责任能力。 洞头县法院根据检察机关的申请,前日对王某作出强制医疗的刑事决定。 这是今年1月1日新刑法实施以来,温州首例无行为能力精神病人强制医疗案。

王某,64岁,洞头人。 他是一名精神病患者,有多年病史,常常谩骂家人,胡言乱语,说家人是“恶魔”、“青蛙”等。

今年2月下旬,王某的病情愈演愈烈,常殴打妻子蔡某。 经查明,今年2月18日晚,王某将妻子误认为“魔鬼”,对其拳打脚踢,致使蔡某死亡。

案发后,警方对王某采取临时性约束措施。 检察机关认为,王某正处于发病治疗期间,具有继续危害社会的可能,因此向法院提出申请,对王某予以强制医疗。

Given the violence of Mr. Wang’s actions and his apparent lack of self-control,the court approved compulsory treatment. The central government will pay the costs of Mr. Wang’s treatment.

Under the CPL, Mr. Wang shall be released if compulsory treatment is no longer required, and he and his family have the right to request his release and while the court can apparently reject a first request, if another is made 6 months later they must accept it. SPC interpretation Article 540.

 

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