The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an extraordinary appeal to overturn the conviction of death-row inmate Cheng Hsing-tse (鄭性澤), while rights groups and other supporters said Cheng had been wrongly convicted and vowed to continue the fight for a retrial.
The court said it rejected the appeal filed by Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Prosecutor-General Yen Ta-ho (顏大和) last year because thorough investigations by the judiciary had found nothing improper in past rulings on Cheng’s case.
Yen had said he filed the appeal because he had questions about the handling of the case by prosecutors and the trial proceedings.
Cheng was convicted of killing police officer Su Hsien-pi (蘇憲丕) during an exchange of gunfire in a Taichung KTV in January 2002.
Police were called to the KTV after a drunk patron, Lo Wu-hsiung (羅武雄), fired two shots from a pistol in one of the rooms, hitting the ceiling and a bottle of liquor.
When police officers entered the room to investigate the gunshots, there was an exchange of gunfire. Su and Lo were killed, while Cheng and several other people were wounded.
Cheng and his supporters contend that he did not fire the fatal shots that killed Su and Lo. Since his initial conviction, Cheng’s lawyers have filed 23 extraordinary appeals for a retrial.
Taiwan Association for Innocence and a Cheng support group released a statement after the Supreme Court denied the latest appeal, saying that they regretted the decision, but that more evidence would be presented to push for a retrial.
They would continue to fight to overturn Cheng’s wrongful conviction, they said.
Cheng has long claimed that he was tortured while being questioned and forced to sign a confession while in a state of mental and physical exhaustion.
Forensic experts have questioned the ballistic evidence presented by prosecutors, while medical reports proved Cheng had various injuries as a result of torture and beatings while being questioned, the groups said.
The statement also claimed unfair and improper judicial treatment by three Taichung High Court judges who upheld the death sentence imposed on Cheng.
The judges did not step down over a conflict of interest by ruling for capital punishment when the case was appealed, it said.
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