The Czech cabinet has approved a new draft Penal Code which would bring about tougher punishments for criminals, and lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 14 years of age. The revised Penal Code would change substantially the classification of crimes, dividing them into two categories, depending upon their seriousness. Serious criminals would be punished more severely than at present, being handed sentences of up to 30 years imprisonment. And courts would be given the power to fast-track lesser offences, and to hand out alternative punishments. If approved by parliament and signed by the head of state, the new Penal Code could take effect as soon as January 2009.
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