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May 5, 2011

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Killer cabbie's sentence stands

A SHANGHAI court yesterday refused to reduce the sentence of a taxi driver after he was convicted of killing a passenger and throwing her body into a river last year.

It was the country's first case in which a criminal who was sentenced to death with a reprieve was not given a reduced jail term since a Criminal Law amendment went into effect on May 1.

Jiang Yajun, 42, a taxi driver for Shanghai Qiangsheng Group Co Ltd, was sentenced to death with a reprieve of two years for killing a woman surnamed Zhao on August 23 last year.

After picking up the victim, the two had an argument over the driving route.

Jiang then hit Zhao in the head repeatedly with a screwdriver and strangled her. Jiang later drove to Jinshan District, where he lived, and threw Zhao's body into a river.

The autopsy concluded she died from suffocation and a brain injury.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to death with a reprieve because the murder was not planned and because Zhao was also partly to blame for the dispute.

However, his prison sentence should not be reduced because he killed the victim cruelly over a minor dispute, the court said yesterday.

The court can reduce sentences in cases of violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping.

However, under the amended law, such criminals should serve at least 25 years in prison. If a criminal does a deed of merit, such as providing tips in other cases, he or she should serve a minimum of 20 years.

In the past, the Criminal Law didn't provide a minimum jail term for a death sentence with reprieve. Thus, some criminals were set free after serving short jail sentences and could threaten social security again, said Huang Xiangqing, deputy director of the court.


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