Fri, Apr 08, 2016 - Page 1 News List

MRT killer says he deserves to be put to death

UNFAIR TREATMENT:The victims’ families said they were angry that they were not notified to appear at yesterday’s Supreme Court appeal hearing in Taipei

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Supreme Court is pictured prior to the commencement of trial proceedings yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

Convicted Taipei MRT killer Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) yesterday said he hoped for the judicial process to end soon and that he deserved to be put to death for his crime, as his lawyers continued to put up a legal defense in Cheng’s appeal hearing at the Supreme Court in Taipei.

Citing the exceptional circumstances of the case and its impact on society, the Supreme Court decided — for the first time in the nation’s history — to hear the defendant and his lawyers’ defense in appealing the High Court’s death sentence ruling in October last year.

Cheng, then 21 years old, killed four people and injured 22 in a knife attack on the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System on May 21, 2014. The crime increased public fears of random attacks, and led to concerns about personal safety in public places, with ridership on the Taipei MRT system dropping for several weeks after the attack.

Reading from a prepared statement, Cheng said he wanted to apologize to the victims and their families.

“Maybe you will not forgive me, because if I were in your shoes, I probably would not forgive either,” he said. “However, maybe my apology can provide some consolation to you, therefore at this time I would like to apologize again.”

He then thanked the Supreme Court for allowing him to appear at the appeal hearing.

“At the start, I did not want to go through the litigation process. I just wanted to get on with it, to have the execution carried out as quickly as possible,” he said.

Cheng then said that his appeals were on the advice of his legal team.

“My lawyers and some people concerned about my life have put in a lot of effort, and they have also encouraged me. I felt all their endeavors should not go to waste, so I have been cooperating with lawyers through the judicial process, so the judges can listen to what the lawyers have to say,” he said.

Cheng concluded by saying: “I have done wrong and deserve to be punished. Maybe I will be executed in a few months’ time, but for inmates not on death row, what can they do?”

Cheng’s lawyers mounted their defense, with the aim of commuting the death sentence.

They said that when police detained and questioned Cheng, they did not inform him of his right to legal counsel, and cited other possible violations in due process of law.

Meanwhile, families of the victims accused the Supreme Court of “unfair treatment” as they were not notified to appear at yesterday’s hearing, saying that their voices had been silenced, but Cheng was given ample time to express his views.

Lee Jui-chang (李瑞昌), the brother of victim Lee Tsui-yun (李翠雲), expressed outrage at the “preferential treatment” Cheng received.

“When Cheng speaks in court, he does not show any remorse and displays the ‘I do not care’ attitude. Still, he could speak his mind today, but the judges did not want to hear from the victims’ families. We are very angry about this, it is very unfair,” Lee said.

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