Committee to reform homicide laws here: Law Minister Shanmugam

The Law Ministry has set up a committee to review homicide laws here, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said at a criminal law conference on Thursday. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
The Law Ministry has set up a committee to review homicide laws here, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said at a criminal law conference on Thursday. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

A government committee will be reviewing homicide laws here, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said at a criminal law conference on Thursday.

Reforms being considered by the panel, chaired by Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah, include refining the definition of murder. It is also looking into the introduction of an offence that deals with deaths caused in the course of violent group crimes.

The review follows recently announced initiatives like increased funding for the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme and the setting up of a third law school at SIM University.

Mr Shanmugam also said that his ministry was working with the Attorney-General's Chambers to come up with a framework for prosecution and defence to negotiate and resolve cases earlier.

This builds on the existing criminal case disclosure process and can lead to benefits like better transparency in the pre-trial litigation process and increased cost savings, he said.

He said changes are being also considered for Singapore's Penal Code with input from academics like National University of Singapore law professors Chan Wing Cheong, Stanley Yeo and Michael Hor, who have called for improved and modernised provisions of criminal responsibility principles.

Mr Shanmugam said the changes reflect the four principles of Singapore's criminal justice system: protection of society, due process, effective law enforcement, as well as reformation and rehabilitation.

"Everything we have done, and will do, reflects these touch points," he said.