Court Grants Petition on Time Lapse of Letter Forgery
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The ruling hearing for the judicial review of the Criminal Code (KUHP) for case No. 118/PUU-XX/2022, Tuesday (1/31/2023). Photo by MKRI/Panji.


Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | 20:02 WIB

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Constitutional Court (MK) granted part of the judicial review petition of Article 79 point 1 of Law No. 1 of 1946 on the Criminal Code (KUHP) by Juliana Helemaya and Asril (Petitioners I and II). The ruling hearing for Decision No. 118/PUU-XX/2022 took place at the plenary courtroom on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

In its legal considerations read out by Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo, the Court asserted that the counting of time lapse in Article 79 point 1 of the Criminal Code would start after all criminal elements of letter forgery is met, i.e. on the day after the forgery is discovered, used, and caused loss. These elements are to be understood as cumulative.

Justice Suhartoyo added that Article 263 of the Criminal Code concerns deliberate offenses, of either deliberate acts or deliberate intents, without offenses with negligence in letter forgery. This provision protects public interest, i.e. the community’s trust and any loss.

The loss that may arise from forgery based on Article 263 of the Criminal Code may not only be materially but may also concerns public interest, for example, if the use of the letter forgery hinders the investigation of a case. therefore, the article is a provision on forgery offense that is significant and additional punishment that may be imposed is revocation of rights and no criminal deprivation.

Criteria for Letter Forgery

Justice Suhartoyo also explained the criteria of letter forgery that must be proven: 1) There must be intent to use or order someone else to use the letter as if it were genuine and not forged; 2) The use of the forgery must have caused losses; 3) Not only those who falsify, but also those who intentionally use forged documents, i.e. the person using it, must be aware for certain that the letter is forgery. Unawareness leads to no punishment; 4) One is considered “having used” when for example they hand over the letter to another person who must use it or at a place where the letter is needed; 5) It must be proven that the person acts as if the letter was genuine and not forged, and this action must have caused harm.

To avoid legal uncertainty in calculating the time lapse for forged letters as stipulated in Article 79 point 1 of the Criminal Code and to provide a sense of justice for all parties, the Court asserted that the time starts on the day after the forgery is discovered, used, and cause losses. “Thus, different interpretations by law enforcement officials in implementing Article 79 point 1 of the Criminal Code, which is also partially argued by the Petitioners, can be avoided,” Justice Suhartoyo said.

The Court declared Article 79 point 1 of the Criminal Code unconstitutionall and is not binding conditionally as long as it is not interpreted “for money counterfeit or damage to currency, the grace period starts from the day after the counterfeit goods or damaged currency are discovered, used, and cause losses.” Thus, the norm, originally read, “The term of lapse of time commences on the next day after the day on which that act has been committed, except in the following cases: 1st, in forgery or mutilation of coins the term commences on the next day after the day on which use has been made of the object with respect to which the forgery or mutilation of coins has been committed,” now reads in full, “The term of lapse of time commences on the next day after the day on which that act has been committed, except in the following cases: 1st, in forgery or mutilation of coins the term commences on the next day after the day on which use has been made of the object with respect to which the forgery or mutilation of coins has been committed, used, and cause loss.”

Also read: Ambiguity of Time Lapse for Letter Forgery Questioned

At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the Petitioners revealed that in a concrete case, investigators from the Riau Regional Police and Pekanbaru Police only used Article 79 of the Criminal Code on letter forgery. They calculated the time lapse of forged letters from the time it was used, whereas in several court decisions and legal experts have different interpretations, for example, Bawamenewi said, Supreme Court Decision No. 2224 K/Pid/2009, Bandung High Court Decision No. 261/Pid/2014/PT.Bdg, and Pekanbaru District Court Pretrial Decision No. 05/Pid.Pra/2018/PN.Pbr.

The Petitioners believe that such different interpretations of the time lapse among law enforcers, including the National Police, prosecutors, judges, and lawyers have reduced the protection of the rights of victims and/or reporters and/or injured parties, as they do not get fair legal certainty that is protected by Article 28D paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution.

Writer        : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Tiara Agustina
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 2/6/2023 08:23 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.


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