The man who shot former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee member Sean Lien (連勝文) and killed an innocent bystander on the eve of local elections in 2010 was sentenced to life in prison by the Taiwan High Court yesterday.
The court overturned a verdict handed down by the New Taipei City District Court in May in which Lin Cheng-wei (林正偉) was sentenced to 24 years in jail for multiple offenses.
The lower court found Lin guilty of attempting to murder Lien, of the negligent manslaughter of bystander Huang Yun-sheng (黃運聖) and contravening the Act Governing the Control of Guns, Ammunition and Knives (槍砲彈藥刀械管制條例).
While the high court upheld the attempted murder conviction related to the shooting of Lien, it changed the negligent manslaughter conviction involving the bystander to murder after determining that Lin had the “intent” to kill.
Lin fired a shot that went through Lien’s face and killed Huang during a campaign rally for New Taipei Council KMT candidate Chen Hung-yuan (陳鴻源) on Nov. 26, 2010, the night before a special municipalities election. Lin later claimed his target was Chen, but that he shot Lien after mistaking him for Chen.
According to the latest verdict, Lin was wrestling with Lien before he pulled the trigger, but that he still insisted on firing his gun at the dodging Lien without any regard for the other people at the rally.
Even when Lin was surrounded after the shooting, he still attempted to get off another shot, the court said.
The high court added that Lin can appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court.
Sean Lien, former vice president Lien Chan’s (連戰) son, recovered from his wounds and yesterday he called for the investigation into the motives and target to be continued.
In a written statement, Sean Lien shared his dissatisfaction with the court findings, which said Lin had shot Sean Lien by mistake. He urged prosecutors to continue the investigation into the motives and targets, and whether there were any accomplices.
“Prosecutors should continue to look into the key issues of the incident, including the source of the gun and the intended target. Otherwise the incident will become an unresolved case and make a mockery of the government’s pursuit of social and legal justice,” he said.
Sean Lien said Lin had failed to pass polygraph tests when asked two key questions during the second trial — who was his intended target and where he got the firearm — but the court did not take account of the polygraph results in its verdict.
Sean Lien also criticized “top officials” in the government over their description of the incident as an “accidental shooting” and accused prosecutors of carrying out the investigation in accordance with the government’s assumptions.
“There are so many unresolved issues in the case and as a person who enjoys rich resources, I still feel helpless when facing the legal system. It’s unimaginable what others [who are less fortunate] go through when fighting injustice,” he said.