Jason Kay writes in response to the Star’s article, Activists: Law must not pussyfoot on Chow’s cruelty, published on March 8, 2011.
As much as we would like to hang Xiao Wei out to dry for her actions as soon as possible, our society, our country, has laws; and we live by those laws. The law says that an investigation will have to be conducted by the relevant department and if prosecution is recommended, the Attorney General will then have to say either “Yes” or “No.”
If the case is prosecuted in Court, the fact that she has confessed would make the trial very short. But this process of law involves one final step: Mitigation. This is where the convicted person addresses the Court, in person or through an advocate, and puts forth the extenuating facts or circumstances that she wishes the Court to take into account before passing sentence. The prosecution will then have the opportunity to address the Court and cite aggravating facts or circumstances that it feels necessitates a harsh sentence. All these factors will then be considered by the Judge (Magistrate in Xiao Wei’s case) before he/she decides on the appropriate sentence.
That is our system of criminal justice. It is for all – the weak and strong, male and female, old and young, rich and poor. We may not believe it is perfect – we may even believe that it is broken. But if we skip any one of those steps, if we say, “Forget about going through the process, it’s so OBVIOUS she’s guilty and she should be punished; forget about what stupid excuses she has,” then woe on us. Woe on us all! Because that is when we cease to be a society governed by laws and we degenerate to a rabble governed by mob justice.
Get off your high horse, and come down from your ivory tower. We have not walked a foot, much less a mile, in Xiao Wei’s shoes. How dare we say she is making up stories? How dare we say she is not psychologically traumatized from her parents’ divorce? How dare we prejudge her without giving her the benefit of the doubt?
At the end of the day, the same conclusion may be reached, i.e. she is guilty as sin and that she should be punished to the full extent of the law. But it only becomes a meaningful conclusion if we took the time to go through the process of the law; because that is ultimately, what we fallible imperfect human beings have: a process. And if we short-cut that process, well, what are we then? Clairvoyant? Omniscient? Who would dare say that?
So, let’s just all take a moment, back off, and let the due process of law run its course.
If nothing happens, then join your local animal rights organization and lobby for prosecution of Xiao Wei. If you don’t like the measly punishment imposed, then lobby your wakil rakyat to change the law to impose harsher sentence. That’s the correct way to do things. Unless of course you’ve already tied your knots and have picked a suitable tree for the lynching. Then I want nothing to do with you – you inhumane animal.
Jason Kay is from Malacca, tweets at @JK_mlk and blogs at http://jasonkaykl.blogspot.com/