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Undue jail term for 'rapist'
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The lack of professional judiciary knowledge has led to an inappropriate sentence, says an article on information portal www.cnhubei.com. Following is an excerpt:

According to a report, a man sneaked into the backyard of one of his neighbors and climbed up a tree, peeking at a woman in her home for four straight hours until an unexpected storm and lightning interrupted his act. The woman noticed this man and reported it to the police.

The man, who lives in the Xindu district of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, told police he "really wanted to rape" his neighbor as he climbed up the tree and said that he is willing to receive the requisite criminal punishment.

The Xindu local court recently sentenced the man to one year in prison with a one-year reprieve for rape.

Only when subjective behavior accords with an objective one can a crime occur. However, the sentence by the Xindu local court was only based on the suspect's confession that he "wanted to rape" the woman. Even a judicial expert from Sichuan University agreed with the sentence, saying that the man's climbing of the tree had already created conditions for the crime and the suspect's behavior was a preparatory one before a crime.

The man's act is undoubtedly wrong, but it is ridiculous to equate it with rape.

Facts are key in judicial matters. When the so-called "rapist" has had no face-to-face contact with the "victim" and even fled home right after he found that his neighbor noticed his presence, it did not pose any serious threats to society. Even if the man really wanted to rape his neighbor, he cannot be deemed a criminal as long as he did not have close contact, including body contact, with the woman. He did not reach the private sphere of the woman in this sense.

(China Daily April 19, 2009)

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