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(釋字第 551 號 )      友善列印PRINT  
Interpretation
J.Y.
Interpretation
NO.551 
Date 2002/11/22
Issue Is the Drug Control Act constitutional in providing that any person who makes a false or malicious accusation against another person for the crimes specified in the said Statute by framing said person or fabricating evidence shall be sentenced to the criminal punishment imposed by the offence he/she accused another of?
Holding   It is stipulated in Articles 8 and 15 of the Constitution that the people's physical freedom and right to life should be protected. To exercise the State's power of criminal punishment properly and to regulate special matters through special punishments in special criminal legislations, the content of such legislations must have proper objectives, and adopt necessary means and appropriate restrictions in order to comply with the provision in Article 23 of the Constitution. This has been explained in this Yuan's Interpretation No.476. The legislative objectives of the Drug Control Act, amended and promulgated on May 20, 1998, were to eliminate drugs, to prevent the harmful effect of drugs on individuals, to preserve the people's physical and mental well-being, and to maintain the social order and public interests -- these have been regulated by special legislations. With respect to persons violating the said Act by making false accusations or fabricating evidence to bring fictitious actions, they fall outside of the ordinary false accusation provisions under the Criminal Code and are to be punished under the special provisions of the Act. However, Article 16 of the same Act, which provides that: "Any person who violates this Act by bringing false accusations or fabricating evidence to bring fictitious actions shall be sentenced to criminal punishment imposed by the offence which he/she accuses others of," does not take into consideration the Criminal Code's principle of attribution of criminal liability based on the conduct's culpability. Rather, it emphasizes the notion of retaliation by punitive punishment such that the person who falsely accused others of an offence will be liable for punishment imposed by such offence. The means adopted, the intended results and the required degree of punishment are disproportionate; the person's liability and criminal punishment are incompatible, that is, the offence and its penalty are disproportionate; therefore, they fail to comply with the principle of proportionality stipulated in Article 23 of the Constitution. The relevant authority shall review and amend the legislation within two years from the date of this Interpretation in order to insure the correct and successful operation of the State's power of criminal punishment and protect the private legal interests of persons falsely accused. Where no amendment takes place after the prescribed period, the provisions under Article 16 of the abovementioned Act concerning punishment of the accusation offences shall cease to be effective.
Reasoning   Articles 8 and 15 of the Constitution stipulate that the people's physical freedom and right of existence should be protected. To exercise the State's right of criminal punishment properly, legislative authority may, in pursuance of certain objectives, regulate special matters through special punishments in special criminal legislations, and the contents of such legislations must comply with the requirements stipulated in Article 23 of the Constitution. Laws which abridge people's freedom or deprive them of their right to life must take into consideration whether the ends can be achieved through other less intrusive means besides those conducive to the achievement of legislative intentions. The degree of punishment shall be reasonable and necessary to the achievement of the intended ends in order to comply with the principle of proportionality stipulated in Article 23 of the Constitution. The foregoing has been explained in this Yuan's Interpretation No.476. The legislative objectives of the Drug Control Act, amended and promulgated on May 20, 1998, were to eliminate drugs, to prevent the harmful effect of drugs on individuals, to preserve the people's physical and mental well-being, and to maintain the social order and public interests -- these have been regulated by special legislations. As an illustration, Article 4 provides that: "Any person who produces, transports or sells Class 1 drugs shall be sentenced to the death penalty, or life imprisonment with a fine not exceeding 10 million New Taiwan dollars"; "Any person who produces, transports or sells Class 2 drugs shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than 7 years, along with a fine not exceeding 7 million New Taiwan dollars"; "Any person who produces, transports or sells Class 3 drugs shall be sentenced to imprisonment for more than 5 years with a fine not exceeding 5 million New Taiwan dollars"; "Any person who produces, transports or sells equipment/paraphernalia for the production or application of drugs shall be liable to a term of imprisonment exceeding 1 year but less than 7 years, with a fine not exceeding 1 million New Taiwan dollars"; and "Any person who attempts to commits offences under the foregoing four Paragraphs shall be so punished." Provisions under Articles 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12 of the same Act have the same stipulations. With respect to persons violating the said Act by making false accusations or fabricating evidence to bring fictitious actions, they shall be subject to a more severe criminal liability if the harm done is serious. These types of conduct fall outside of the ordinary false accusation provisions under the Criminal Code, and are to be punished under the special provisions of the Act. However, Article 16 of the same Act provides that: "Any person who violates this Act by bringing false accusations or fabricating evidence to bring fictitious actions shall be sentenced to the criminal punishment imposed by the offence which he/she accused others of." This provision originates from Article 15 of the Drug Control during the Period for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion which takes into consideration the special circumstances of that time and the then existing legislative policies. However, the nature of illegality and improper gain in relation to the production, sale, application, supply, possession or planting of drugs mentioned in the said Act are incompatible. The imposition of criminal punishment on a person for the offence he/she has accused others of does not take into consideration the fact that the offender's conduct does not involve drugs or the production, dispersion or possession of the raw material or equipment/drug paraphernalia, nor does it present a danger to other people's health by applying drugs for use. The said conduct of the offender has no relevance to the legislative intentions of eliminating narcotics, preventing the harmful effects of drugs, and severe punishment in the said Act. The abovementioned Article does not account for the Criminal Code's principle of attribution of criminal liability based on the conduct's culpability. Rather, it emphasizes the notion of retaliation by punitive punishment such that the person who falsely accuses others of an offence will be liable for punishment imposed by such offence. The means adopted, the intended results and the required degree of punishment are disproportionate; the personal liability and criminal punishment are incompatible; that is, the offence and its penalty are disproportionate and therefore fail to comply with the principle of proportionality stipulated in Article 23 of the Constitution. The relevant authority shall review and amend the legislation within two years from the date of this Interpretation in order to insure the correct and successful operation of the State's power of criminal punishment and protect the private legal interests of persons falsely accused. Where no amendment takes place after the prescribed period, the provisions under Article 16 of the abovementioned Act concerning punishment of the accusation offences shall cease to be effective.

' Translated by Wei-Feng Huang of THY Taiwan International Law Offices.
 

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