Sun, Aug 09, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Compensation ruling may alter protest cases

‘TRUE JUSTICE’:A former head of the Judicial Reform Foundation questioned whether taxpayer money should be used to pay in cases involving police violence

By Huang Hsin-po  /  Staff reporter

Legal precedent might have been set for cases involving mass protests and assemblies following a ruling in favor of a teacher seeking compensation after he was beaten up by police officers during the Sunflower movement in Taipei in March last year, legal experts said.

The Taipei District Court on Friday ordered the state to pay NT$300,000 in compensation to high-school science teacher Lin Ming-hui (林明慧), who said he was beaten up by police officers on March 24 last year during the eviction of protesters who stormed the Executive Yuan compound.

Former Judicial Reform Foundation chief executive Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠), an attorney, described Lin’s case as a “leading indicator” that could encourage other cases demanding state compensation.

Kao said he helped then-National Taiwan University graduate student Ted Chiang (江一德) to demand state compensation after Chiang was allegedly beaten by unidentified police officers during demonstrations over the visit of China’s then-Taiwan Affairs Office director Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in Taipei in 2008.

Chiang received compensation, but the case did not gain a lot of public attention, Kao said.

However, as Lin’s case was just one of many violent police actions on March 24 last year, it is expected to set a precedent for other cases of people sustaining injuries during police evictions on that day, Kao said.

Kao added that the Control Yuan had neglected its duty in the Lin case.

“Why in the world should compensation payments in police violence cases be paid using taxpayer money?” he said.

Kao urged the Control Yuan to issue corrections for similar cases, uncover the perpetrators and have the Taipei City Government hold perpetrators accountable.

“This is what true justice and fairness should look like,” he said.

Taiwan Bar Association supervisor Lin Chen-huang (林振煌) said that the city government has chosen not to appeal, meaning that state compensation would be seen as a guarantee in future cases involving abuse of power by police officers during protests.

Lin said historically, rulings in cases involving mass protests tended to incriminate protesters, but the situation has gradually turned in their favor as democracy has taken hold.

However, in practice, it still comes down to the question of whether trial judges have enough moral courage, Lin said.

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