Do you know about the abuse case that took place in a daycare center of Gangseo-gu? On July 18, a day care center teacher was arrested for killing an 11-month-old child. The incident shed light on similar events that occurred 11 years ago, a case involving a 23-month-old child named ‘Seong-min,’ who was killed by his teacher in 2007. Seong-min was abused and killed by the teacher. Although there was much circumstantial evidence that he had abused the child, the teacher claimed the child had fallen off the piano. The court then granted a suspended sentence for admitting that there was no direct evidence of the assault and that it was a mistake on duty. The court has been criticized by many people for its ruling is completely out of line with public sentiment, and it has also angered citizens, as it is reminiscent of the incident that happened 11 years ago. Therefore, we should find out why people's legal feelings and laws are different and think about the wrong reasons.
It is the difference in charges that cause real law and public sentiment to collide in such child abuse cases. Many people believe that any time one person kills another, it is always murder and the same formula should be applied in the context of child abuse. However, the law does not apply the same punishment to a defendant just because he or she is dead. Depending on whether a suspect has good intentions in killing, the death of the victim is classified either as 'murder' or as 'accidental homicide'. Accidental homicide refers to a case in which a victim is killed, though the assailant did not intend to kill the victim. But 'murder' applies to a situation in which a victim is killed by a criminal with an intent to kill. That's where the problem comes in. How can we prove the motive of the killing? A defendant can be convicted of manslaughter by simply saying, 'I didn’t intend to kill victim.' Also, in cases of manslaughter, a suspended sentence is often given. Therefore, while the public thinks that a certain death qualifies as a murder, the punishment can seem ridiculously light. However, in Britain, Germany and the United States, if a child dies due to child abuse, the criminal is severely punished for murder. Thus, Korea should also strengthen the punishment for child abuse in order to reduce the number of children who are sacrificed in such incidents.
As the terrible events of 11 years have been repeated, similar events will continue to occur unless we improve this situation. Of course, lawyers say such problems result from different perceptions that arise due to people's ignorance of the law. In the United States, Britain, and Germany, however, children are punished with murder if they die due to abuse. Therefore, this can be seen as a loophole in the Korean law, not a difference of perceptions. Particularly in countries where human resources are important, such as in Korea, children are the nation's competitiveness and its importance has doubled following the recent trend of low birthrate. But no one would want to have children in a country that is not safe to raise them. Further, it should be understood that an act of violating a person's right to life can’t be covered up by naming the act a “mistake.”< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >