Macau (MNA) – The 26-year old employee of D. José da Costa Nunes kindergarten accused in a child sexual abuse case has been released today on coercive measures that requires him to check in with the police regularly, the Public Prosecutor’s Office released in a statement on Saturday.
The coercive measures only apply to defendants to limit their freedom and influence their daily activities in various aspects – most importantly – to reduce the potential risk of escape to a level as low as reasonably possible.
Speaking to Macau News Agency (MNA), lawyer Daniel Chio Song Meng pointed out that coercive measures such as periodic presentation is not always “a hundred percent” safe and effective in reducing the risk of escape on the part of the defendant.
“Coercive measures applied by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to the defendant such as requiring him to check in regularly with the police are suitable under situations in which the defendant is a permanent resident, because they would eventually return back to Macau,” sated Chio.
“But what about if the defendant [non-resident] ran away to his home country? Then, in this case the Office would have to order a custody. They can only apply such coercive measure [custody] under the premise that they caught the defendant who had already ran away,” he added.
Chio further highlighted that blue card holders – non-resident workers – would have to leave the city within a short period of time after the termination of their employment contract, signaling that there is a possibility the defendant returns to his country, as he has already been suspended by the school.
However, Miguel de Senna Fernandes, the president of the Association for the Promotion of Macanese Education (APIM), clarified that the employee has not been fired.
“We have only suspended his job, he cannot escape or go back to his country before this case has a result,” he argued.
Senna Fernandes once again pledged that the school will provide a satisfactory response to parents within one week.
According to the Macau Penal Code, anyone who commits an act of sexual intercourse with or under the age of 14, or causes him or her to practice it with himself or with a third party, shall be punished by imprisonment from one to eight years.
The Code also states that ‘when the victim is under 16, the Public Prosecutor’s Office initiates the process if special reasons of interest of the victim impose it,’ signalling that the Office has the right to start a criminal procedure ordinance without notice in advance.
[Edited by Sheyla Zandonai]