British businessman Zain Dean should be extradited to Taiwan to serve the jail sentence he was given by a local court in a fatal hit-and-run case in 2010, the Edinburgh District Court ruled yesterday.
The Taipei Representative Office in the UK hailed the decision as a significant step forward in cementing the nation’s judicial authority in the international community.
Dean had been convicted in Taipei of killing newspaper deliveryman Huang Chun-te (黃俊德) on March 25, 2010, while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was given a four-year term for involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene of an accident, but absconded on Aug. 14, 2012, using the passport of his friend Christopher David Churcher.
However, on Oct. 16 last year, Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on extraditon with UK authorities and Scottish police arrested Dean the next day.
On May 23, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Dean must pay Huang’s family NT$9 million (US$299,000), upholding a local court ruling that he pay NT$7.55 million, plus interest on four years of arrears, subject to an 8 percent increase for every year the damages are not paid.
The Edinburgh District Court has forwarded its decision to Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill for further approval.
MacAskill has eight weeks to make a decision and if that decision complies with the ruling, Dean has 14 days to appeal or be extradited.
The charge d’affairs of Taiwan’s UK representative office, Hsu Fen-chuan (許芬娟), called the ruling a success, saying it set a great precedent for strengthening bilateral ties.
Sherriff Kenneth Maciver reportedly told Dean’s lawyers that using Taiwan’s sovereign status to argue against extradition was voided by the memorandum as it showed that the UK government acknowledges Taiwan as a political entity, despite the absence of official ties.
Hsu said the proceedings may take up to one month to finalize, adding that the office would keep in contact with the Scottish judiciary to expedite the extradition.
“The ministry appreciates the Scottish court’s ruling and justice was served,” Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said.
The ministry offered documents on Dean’s prosecution in Taiwan and information about the rights situation of the nation’s prison system to Scottish judicial authorities in the hope that they would rule in Taiwan’s favor, Chen said.