The Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), upholding a decision made by the Taiwan High Court in February asking the Taipei District Court to reconsider an attempted murder charge against Jiang over the government’s forced eviction of Sunflower movement activists from the Executive Yuan compound in Taipei last year.
Chou Jung-tsung (周榮宗), a 76-year-old activist who died last month, filed the charge against a number of officials, including Jiang, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), then-National Police Agency director-general Wang Cho-chiun (王卓鈞) and other high-ranking law enforcement officials.
Chou said earlier last year that he sustained fractured ribs and other injuries when he was assaulted by police officers with a shield and later blasted by water cannons.
The protests at the Executive Yuan were part of the Sunflower movement, in which protesters occupied the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber in protest against the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement.
On the night of March 23 last year, student-led protesters forced their way past barricades to stage a sit-in at the Executive Yuan. Jiang authorized a crackdown in the early morning of March 24, resulting in scores of protesters reporting injuries they said were caused by officers using batons, shields and water cannons.
Chou filed the attempted murder charge with the Taipei District Court, which issued a provisional disposition ordering the police to keep for litigation video recordings, duty rosters and other documents related to the Executive Yuan eviction.
After reviewing Chou’s written statements, the district court rejected the charge in January, referring to improper procedural handling on the part of the plaintiff and ruling that Jiang and Wang did not overstep their authority by ordering the eviction of protesters, adding that Chou did not enlist any witnesses or present incriminating evidence.
However, the High Court ruled that the district court’s decision was at odds with the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) by focusing on the procedural aspects of the case without conducting substantial investigations into each of Chou’s allegations. The High Court thereby remitted the case back to the district court.
Jiang appealed the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court, which upheld the High Court’s decision and remanded the case to the Taipei District Court.
Chou’s was the first of about 50 lawsuits filed by protesters.
Chou’s daughter took over his lawsuit after his death, she said.