SOUTH KOREA: APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS DEATH SENTENCE
December 15, 2010: A South Korean appeals court overturned a death sentence passed on a 33-year-old man who raped and murdered a teenage girl, sentencing him instead to life imprisonment.
Kim Kil-Tae, a repeat sex offender, had been sentenced to hang by a district court in June for the offence against the 13-year-old girl in the southern city of Busan in February.
He appealed, claiming he had no memory of the crime which shocked the country.
A court spokesman told AFP that tests on Kim had shown no mental disorder, but judges were unsure whether he was in a normal state of mind at the time of the crime. "Thus, his punishment has been decreased to a life sentence."
The appeals court upheld an earlier ruling ordering Kim, if he is eventually released, to wear an electronic tracking device for 20 years.
Kim had served a total of 11 years behind bars for two previous rapes before he was arrested in March for the latest crime.
He had been released in June 2009 but was not ordered to wear the tracking device because his offences occurred before a new law came into force. (Sources: Afp, 15/12/2010)