PLC Paper No. LS 88
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council on 23 January 1998
Legal Service Division Report on
Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill 1998
Objects of the Bill
To enable earlier review of the terms of prisoners who are serving mandatory life sentences in respect of murder committed when they were under 18 years of age.
Provisional LegCo Brief Reference
2. SBCR 2/5691/89(97) dated 15 January 1998 issued by the Security Bureau.
Date of First Reading
3. 21 January 1998.
4. Under section 67C of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap. 221), the Chief Justice is required to submit a recommendation specifying a minimum term for prisoners who are serving discretionary sentences of life imprisonment or are detained at Executive discretion. The wording does not include prisoners who are serving mandatory life sentences.
5. The existing provision relating to review of mandatory life sentence is in section 11(2) of the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Ordinance (Cap. 524). The subsection provides that the first review of a mandatory life sentence is to be conducted after the fifth anniversary of the date of the start of the sentence. There is no mechanism for early review for those who committed an offence when they were under 18 years of age. The Administration considers that the mandatory life imprisonment of offenders convicted of murder committed when they were under 18 should be reviewed earlier. This Bill proposes the mechanism for such early review.
6. According to the PLC Brief, the cases of 4 prisoners could be reviewed earlier after the proposed amendments are passed.
7. The Bill appears to address a technical legal point and is not controversial in nature. The drafting of the Bill is in order. We recommend Members to support the Bill.
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
21 January 1998