O’Neill says Criminal Code Act amendments are long overdue

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The National, Wednesday 29th May 2013

 THE amendments to the Criminal Code Act imposing the death penalty for serious crimes such as murder and rape are long overdue, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

He said the enactment of the tough new laws was the response by his Government and the Parliament to the increasing rate of serious crime and mounting pressure from citizens to restore law and order.

O’Neill said the death penalty already existed in current laws but was never been debated because it has been placed in the “too hard to do basket”.

And the majority of law-abiding citizens supported the new measures, he said.

Responding to concerns by several MPs about the moral ethics of the death penalty, O’Neill said the Government had given serious consideration and deliberated on the issue.

“We already have the death penalty in our constitution and in fact there are 10 people facing the death penalty.”

He said PNG would not be the first country to implement capital punishment as a deterrent for heinous crimes. 

“Just because one gets the death penalty does not mean they will be hanged immediately.

“All those implicated will be given a chance to appeal and go through the clemency process so every person will be given a final opportunity to prove they are innocent or not,” O’Neill said.