Five former ranking military personnel involved in the wrongful execution of Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) who were sued by the Ministry of National Defense must pay the ministry a total of NT$59.57 million (US$1.93 million), the Supreme Court said on Friday as it upheld an earlier verdict.
The ruling, which is final, is the first time that a government agency compensated a plaintiff and then demanded that the directors responsible reimburse the agency.
Chiang, an air force serviceman, was convicted of raping and killing a five-year-old girl on Air Force Command Headquarters premises in 1996 and executed in 1997.
However, the case was reopened in 2010 and Chiang was exonerated in 2011.
The case was concluded without a new conviction in 2015, after Hsu Jung-chou (許榮州), the prime suspect from 2011 to 2013, was found to have confessed his guilt under duress and the court threw out his testimony. Hsu was found not guilty in 2014.
After the ministry paid the Chiang family NT$103 million in compensation, it in 2012 demanded that all eight ranking military personnel involved in the case indemnify the ministry by paying NT$14 million each.
The Supreme Court said that former air force commander lieutenant general Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) and then-Air Force Command legal department director colonel Tsao Chia-sheng (曹嘉生) were largely responsible for the decisions that led to Chiang’s wrongful conviction.
Then-Counterintelligence Division lieutenant colonel Ko Chung-ching (柯仲慶) and then-security officer captain Ho Tzu-yao (何祖耀) were directly complicit, as they tortured Chiang and obtained false confessions, the Supreme Court said in a statement.
Late security officer lieutenant colonel Lee Chih-jen’s (李植仁) and former military prosecutor Huang Jui-peng’s (黃瑞鵬) sentences were confirmed in the first ruling, the Supreme Court said, adding that Lee’s surviving family was ordered to pay the ministry and Huang was exempted from paying.
The High Court in its ruling said that Chen and Ko were largely responsible and should instead pay NT$34 million and NT$25 million respectively, but the Supreme Court said that the ministry had only demanded NT$14 million from each of the ranking personnel involved and that is what they would be ordered to pay.
Lee Shu-chiang (李書強) and Chao Tai-sheng (趙台生), who were also involved, were found not guilty, as they were found not to have helped obtain forced confessions.
Separately, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for the fourth time turned down a motion to charge Chen and others with murder and dereliction of duty and the Taipei District Court denied Chiang’s family’s appeal for the case to go directly to court.
The family’s request was in accordance with article 258, subparagraph 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法).
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