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February 22, 2014

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Mentally ill killer might be hospitalized

Hongkou District prosecutors have applied to the courts to have a schizophrenic man who murdered his brother and nephew hospitalized.

The application is the first of its kind since amendments were made last year to the Criminal Procedural Law, prosecutors told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

“If a person is deemed to be mentally ill, they cannot be held responsible for criminal or harmful deeds. But at the same time, the family or guardians of such people must ensure they receive the correct medical treatment. If not, the authorities can apply for enforced hospitalization,” they said.

In July of last year, 42-year-old Deng Hui (not his real name) visited the home of his younger brother Deng Ming (not his real name) and stabbed him to death after quarreling over an unpaid debt.

Deng Hui believed his brother owed him 10,000 yuan (US$1,640) after borrowing the money to buy a car. In fact, it was Deng Hui who had borrowed the money from his brother.

After killing his sibling, Deng Hui returned to his parents’ apartment on the floor below. When he saw his nephew, Deng Ming’s son, playing on his bed, he became angry and launched a fatal attack on the toddler with a hammer and knives.

Deng Hui then took a bath to clean away the blood and left the property.

He later spoke to his ex-wife on the telephone who persuaded him to hand himself in to the police.

Deng Hui was later diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and as a result was deemed unable to stand trial or be held criminally liable.

Prosecutors discovered that Deng Hui had been treated for a mental illness in 2008, a condition which contributed to the breakdown of his marriage the following year.

Also, in 2003, Deng Hui's elder brother was hospitalized with mental health problems.

Deng’s father told prosecutors that his son was prone to violent outbursts, but due to  he and his wife being in their 70s they were unable to control or care for him.

Under the amended Criminal Procedure Law, people with severe mental illnesses cannot be held criminally responsible for their behavior but can be forcibly hospitalized if they are considered a threat to society.

The application must be made through a court, which in turn should return a decision within one month.


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