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Beijing court improves efficiency with video interrogation system

By Cao Yin | | Updated: 2016-12-15 19:33

Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court is hearing cases related to sentence reduction and release on parole using hi-tech devices, in an effort to save legal resources and improve efficiency.

In May, the court established a remote case hearing system with a prison in Northeast Beijing's Yanqing district, according to a statement from the judicial body.

Since initiating the system in July, using a high-definition video recorder, the court has used it in over 30 interrogations and hearings, the statement said.

"Judges can see defendants, or prisoners who need to be commuted or released on parole, clearly under the system, and it also saves our more than four-hour walk to the prison," said Xu Qingbin, chief judge of trial and supervision tribunal at the court.

The court, almost 200 kilometers away from the prison, had to dispatch judges to the jail to deal with commutation and parole, but Xu said, "now the labor force is being saved and (we) can hear more cases a day".

More than 90 percent of cases relating to commutation and parole across the capital should be heard in the court in line with laws, "which is why we set up such a system to improve efficiency," he added.

Statistics show that the court dealt with 1,131 commutations since 2014, and in the same period, there were 278 prisoner interrogations.

In 2014, the Supreme People's Court issued a guideline, asking every court to regulate procedures when handling commutation and parole, and to open trials as such cases relating to corruption, fraud and gang-related crimes.

"In other words, prisoners convicted of graft, fraud and gang-related charges must receive a case hearing when they need to be commuted or paroled under laws," Xu explained.

The guideline encourages courts to explore new ways to tackle such cases, "so we take advantage of the advanced devices to echo it," he said.

Xu added that such device is being extended to more prisons, "aiming to ensure justice while saving legal resources."

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