SPC official stresses combining legal theory, compassion at trials

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/6 19:43:39

A senior official of China's top court Wednesday vowed to combine legal theory and compassion in cases, which is a Chinese court tradition, an expert said.

Shen Deyong, Supreme People's Court executive vice president, made the comment at a symposium on criminal trial work in Jinan, capital city of East China's Shandong Province, the court said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday.

Courts should recognize the higher requirements of judicial fairness as people become increasingly aware of the rule of law, listen to public opinion and respond to their concerns in the new media era, Shen said. 

Shen urged courts to independently exercise their authority in accordance with the law, and stick to the bottom line of fairness and justice. Laws are meant to protect social justice, but they should also take into consideration common social justice, which is respect for public opinion, Shen was quoted in the statement as saying.

Shen explained that "the combination of legal theory and public opinion relies not only on the legal system but on judges' experiences, wisdom and conscience as well."

"Shen's words reaffirmed Chinese courts' tradition of combining legal theory and compassion," Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Zhi said that "if the public strongly doubts a decision which they feel is unethical and immoral, there could be something wrong, or the truth was not unearthed, or the wrong interpretation was applied."

"But the judicial system has its limits. It cannot on its own solve social problems, which could lead to crimes," Zhi noted, referring to the Yu Huan case.

Yu Huan, 23, was sentenced to life in prison in February after killing a loan shark's henchman when the man thrust his penis at Yu's mother to threaten her into paying a debt in April 2016.

The Liaocheng government formed an investigation team to look into alleged police negligence and loan sharking, after reports went viral and many people demanded leniency for Yu, local news portal lcxw.cn reported.

"For example, Yu's case is closely related to the local economic environment and the presence of loan sharks, which the judicial system alone is unable to change," Zhi said.

"The public should supervise the judicial system. A fair decision should clearly explain the case and be accepted by the public," Yin Qingli, Yu's attorney, who filed an appeal on February 24, told the Global Times.

Shen stressed the need to make use of high-profile cases to improve people's legal awareness, in a bid to promote the rule of the law, according to the statement.

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