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Condemning innocent worse than sparing guilty: senior justice


08:05, May 08, 2013

BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese judge has called for efforts to prevent miscarriages of justice, saying it is even preferable to spare guilty people than to hand down wrongful punishment to the innocent.

Shen Deyong, executive vice president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), made the remarks in an article published in the Monday edition of the newspaper People's Court Daily.

A string of miscarriage of justice cases in China have inflicted unprecedented challenges to Chinese courts, and it is imperative now to deal with this situation, the article said.

While wrongs must be corrected to uphold justice, more measures should be taken to avoid similar cases in the future, it said.

The criminal justice system matters to a citizen's reputation, property, liberty and even life. An unjust case may ruin justice in society and set back the authority of the judicial system, the article said.

Shen noted that there are several elements that may lead to an erroneous conviction, including lack of relevant knowledge and capabilities as well as inadequate technological support.

However, in many of miscarriage of justice cases, wrongful acts and corruption, negligence and irresponsible attitudes in judicial agencies, as well as the excessive thirst for a high clearance rate, are among the major causes, the article said.

Moreover, courts are always under great pressure of the possibility of letting off a guilty criminal, Shen noted.

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