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CPP revision: faster trials, rights guaranteed

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The Executive Council finished the analysis of the revised Penal Procedure Code (CPP) announced yesterday Leong Heng Teng, considering that the most important proposed change proposal implies that “it is specifically mentioned that the judged sentence must include a critical exam of the proofs that formatted the court’s conviction.”
The CPP revision that will soon be voted in the Legislative Assembly establishes a more extensive use of special trial procedures and the introduction of simplified trial procedures. Speaking during an Executive Council press conference, the spokesperson Leong Heng Teng mentioned that the changes imply the introduction of a new kind of simplified process.
Already existing, the summary procedures apply to simpler crimes and cases where the suspect criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offence. What’s now proposed is that the summary procedures could be applied to cases where the suspect was caught not only by the police or the judicial authority, but also by other persons. The CPP revision maintains the so called “super-summary” procedures.
The simplified process is set up for use in cases where the summary or “super-summary” procedures do not apply. According to Leong Heng Teng, they will allow “certain trials to be faster, treating different kinds of court processes in a different way.”  The simplified process could be used for cases carrying a jail sentence of up to three years when “there is simple and clear evidence.”

Police force’s complementary benefits increased

There will be an increase to the police force’s complementary benefits as was already announced last year by the Secretary for Security Cheong Kuoc Vá.
The Executive Council agrees with the proposal made by the Secretary and considers that “there is an increased risk in the police forces activities that have been compensated with complementary benefits.” But most of those benefits “have not been updated during the last ten years,” conclude the Council members. There will be additional payment for “specialised functions,” like the Judiciary Police agents that deal with kidnap and terrorism cases; drivers of “special vehicles” and divers working for the customs services. The amount of the complementary benefits depends on the function, but the value is comprehended between the salary index 50 and 120. The salary index 100 amounts to a total of around MOP 3,000 per month.

Furthermore, the proposed changes imply classification of court processes with non-resident defendants as “urgent” and the establishment of time limits to home searches. This kind of intrusive procedure will be prohibited between 21h and 6h, whilst the CPP in vigor determines that those searches can’t be made “before the sunset or after the sunset.”
The trial procedures are also simplified, establishing a maximum of two court session postponements and the joint trial of defendants if their cases are related. Concerning the right to appeal, and in the name of celerity, the proposal attributes a higher competence to the judge rapporteur. Thus, lesser cases will be analyzed by the conference of judges. But the time to appeal is increased from ten to twenty days.
Another relevant change states that, besides the Public Prosecutions Office, the police authorities are being given the power to apply coercive measures like the travel ban (in lieu of detention) without a judge’s order.

Rights guaranteed

Answering journalists, Leong Heng Teng said that the changes will not affect the fundamental rights of the defendants and will lead to faster trial procedures. “The aim is to achieve optimal Penal Procedure,” he said.
The Legal Reform and International Law Office (DSRJDI) deputy director Chan Hin Chi added that the revision maintains “a demanding regime to obtain evidence” and that “the priority has been given to warrant the rights of all those involved in judicial procedures.” He added that after debate within the Executive Council it was decided that “maybe it is better not to apply the summary procedures to minors.” The idea was proposed during the revision process.

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