Justice given to man who has fought to clear name for 30 years

2018/08/08 13:16:02 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Justice given to man who has fought to clear name for 30 years

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court has overturned a 1987 attempted murder conviction, the first time a victim of a miscarriage of justice who has been granted amnesty has ultimately had his name cleared.

The panel of three judges on Wednesday ruled 69-year-old Su Ping-kun (蘇炳坤) not guilty during a retrial of his case, in which he was convicted and given a 15-year jail sentence for the robbery of a jewelry store and attempted murder in Hsinchu on March 23, 1986.

Su, then an owner of a furniture factory, has insisted on his innocence since he was arrested at his home on June 19, 1986, saying he was framed by Kuo Chung-hsiung (郭中雄), another convict sentenced to 16 years in the same case.

Su's conviction has been called into question ever since because of concerns that it was based solely on Kuo's confession without sufficient evidence.

Kuo has admitted that he named Su as an accomplice out of spite because Su owed him back wages. Also, both Su and Kuo have accused police of using torture to extract confessions.

Su went into hiding in Taiwan for years under the protection of a prosecutor before he was arrested in 1997.

He then served two years and nine months in prison before he was granted a special amnesty in 2000 by then president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) following a Control Yuan report on the highly questionable case.

Many attempts were made on Su's behalf to have his case reconsidered.

Two prosecutors-general filed a total of four extraordinary appeals against his conviction from 1992 to 1998, but they were not accepted.

Four requests for a retrial filed by heads of the Supreme Prosecutors Office from 1987 to 1996 were also rejected.

But with the help of the Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and Taiwan Innocence Project, Su finally got the Taiwan High Court to consider the case in May 2017.

The High Court then held preliminary hearings in July and August before deciding in September to retry the case.

The preliminary hearing held on August 27, 2017 set a precedent as the proceedings were accessible to reporters, who were allowed to take photos or make video or audio recordings in the courtroom to enhance public understanding of the rule of law.

The same rule was applied to Wednesday's court hearing at which Su's acquittal was announced.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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