A Control Yuan member said yesterday he would investigate a “judicial flaw” that may have resulted in a man being wrongfully detained and indicted on suspicion that he committed serial sexual assaults in Taichung in 1997.
Coast Guard Administration (CGA) official Liao Tai-yu (廖泰余), 37, was arrested on Friday night at the Central Coastal Patrol Office in Greater Taichung. Investigators found that his DNA matched that of samples collected in four sexual assault cases committed near Tunghai University in 1997 and 1998.
In April 1997, a man carrying a knife broke into the apartment of a female Tunghai student, nicknamed Hsiao-hui (小惠), who lived near the university. The intruder tried to rape her, but failed. In June 1997, another female Tunghai student surnamed Chan (詹) was raped by a man who broke into her apartment near the university.
A suspect named Chi Fu-jen (紀富仁) was arrested in June 1997. Taichung district prosecutor Lee Fei-hsuan (李斐瑄) charged him with rape, attempted rape and robbery and requested the court to sentence him to death.
However, a DNA sample taken from Chi was later found not to match that collected from Chan’s body. Meanwhile, in October 1997, another Tunghai coed surnamed Chang (張) was raped during Chi’s detention. Investigators found the DNA sample collected from Chang’s body matched those collected from Chan’s body, but did not match Chi’s DNA sample.
The Taichung District Court in its final verdict in 1998 acquitted Chi in the Chan case.
Chi was also acquitted by the Supreme Court in November 2003 in the Hsiao-hui case.
Chi was wrongfully detained for 269 days.
Control Yuan member Chao Chang-ping (趙昌平) yesterday said it was “ridiculous” that prosecutor Lee indicted Chi and requested the court sentence him to death solely on witnesses’ statements and Chi’s confessions, but without the evidence of DNA tests.
Because Chi confessed that he committed the crimes and also kneeled down and apologized before victims, news media suspected Chi had been tortured during the investigation.