Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Court hands out record settlement

By Jason Pan  /  Staff Reporter

Former death row inmate Cheng Hsing-tse, center, speaks to the media in Taichung on July 19.

Photo: Chang Jui-chen, Taipei Times

The Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court yesterday awarded former death row inmate Cheng Hsing-tse (鄭性澤), 50, NT$17,288 million (US$562,925) in compensation after he was wrongfully convicted of killing a police officer and spent more than a decade in prison.

“Cheng has lost a vital part of his adult life and was stripped of personal liberties while in prison,” the court said in its ruling.

“The case was also a burden to his family... While on death row, Cheng faced fear and pain from the constant threat of a judicial order to administer his execution. He had to endure much suffering during his incarceration,” it said.

Cheng was with friends at a karaoke bar in Taichung in January 2002, when a dispute broke out and someone fired a shot into the ceiling.

Taichung police arrived and there was an exchange of gunfire, resulting in the death of Cheng’s friend Lo Wu-hsiung (羅武雄) and police officer Su Hsien-pi (蘇憲丕).

As Cheng was found holding a handgun, investigators said he had fired the shot that killed Su.

Cheng’s case went through seven trials and eight retrials, including the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision to uphold the death sentence.

After spending 14 years in prison, prosecutors in March 2016 applied to the Taiwan High Court for another retrial after new evidence emerged.

Cheng was acquitted in October last year.

In yesterday’s ruling, the judges said that, from his arrest in 2002, Cheng had spent 5,233 days in prison.

Cheng served two years for illegal firearm charges. Of the other charges against him, 911 days could be commuted to a fine, so he had been wrongfully imprisoned for 4,322 days, the judges said.

He was awarded NT$4,000 for each of the 4,322 days, totaling NT$17.288 million — the third-highest compensation for wrongful conviction in the nation’s history.

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