Fri, Oct 12, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Prosecution deferred in basketball lights incident

By Huang Chieh and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office on Sunday said it has deferred prosecuting a Taipei man for electricity theft after he turned on the lights of a public basketball court.

The court lights at the Rainbow Riverside Park (彩虹河濱公園) in Neihu District (內湖) are automatically turned on between 6pm and 10pm, the office said.

At 11:30pm on Aug. 23, the man surnamed Chu (朱) went to the court with his friends and turned the lights on through a broken access panel, which he said was damaged before he acessed it, the office said.

Soon after, area residents called the Taipei Parks and Street Lights Office to complain about the light, prosecutors said, adding that a park patrol discovered Chu and reported him to police for suspected vandalism.

A prosecutor determined that there was not enough evidence to charge Chu for vandalism, although there was enough evidence to indict him for electricity theft, the prosecutors’ office said.

Chu admitted to turning on the lights without permission, but said that he had believed he had the right to use a public facility and expressed remorse for unintentionally breaking the law, it said.

The prosecutor agreed to defer prosecution and drop charges after one year on condition that Chu pay the city NT$5,000 within eight months of the settlement, it said.

The parks office said that residents have been vocal about the park’s bright lights disturbing their sleep, which is why the lights are shut off at 10pm.

Repeated incidents of people forcing open the power box to use the lights have prompted the parks office to take tougher measures to deter such behavior, it said, adding that it did not object to the prosecutor’s decision as long as Chu follows the rules.

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