Tougher crime laws to follow U-Bahn bashing

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26 Apr, 2011 Updated Tue 26 Apr 2011 07:18 CEST
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Members of Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union will pursue tougher sentencing laws for violent crime in the wake of Saturday’s brutal bashing at a Berlin U-Bahn station.

“It must be a thing of the past that young people show off their suspended sentences as trophies,” said deputy chairman of the conservatives’ parliamentary group, Günter Krings, to Tuesday’s edition of daily Welt.

Early Saturday, an 18-year-old student, named by daily Bild as Torben P., severely bashed a 29-year-old man at Friedrichstraße U-Bahn station. The man was left unconscious and had to be rushed to hospital. He is now recovering.

Torben P. and a co-attacker, also 18, turned themselves in to police over the weekend after surveillance video of the attack was widely published, including stills of Torben P. appearing to stomp on his prostrate victim's head. However Torben P. is already out on bail, various news reports said.

One possibility for tougher sentencing was the introduction of so-called “warning-shot detention” whereby young repeat offenders are given a short taste of prison followed by probation, Krings said. The warning shot would typically consist of a few weeks’ jail with an emphasis on education and rehabilitation.

The Justice Ministry would draw up draft legislation within the next two months, Krings said.

“Young offenders properly discover what it means to be behind bars and are at the beginning of their probation period faced with the clear consequences of re-offending.”

Greens MP Christian Ströbele rejected the plan as “absolute rubbish,” saying that existing maximum penalties were rarely used, so it made no sense to toughen them further.

Warning shots wouldn’t have helped in the current case because the main offender hadn’t appeared in court before, he added.

Berlin Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting told the Berliner Morgenpost he was appalled by the incident but added that it showed video surveillance was working.

The Local/djw



2011/04/26 07:18

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