High Court overturns verdict in shooting of officer

By Yang Kuo-wen  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Fri, May 13, 2011 - Page 2

A not-guilty verdict handed to Li Teh-yang (李德陽), an alleged accomplice in the shooting of Taipei County police officer Lin An-shun (林安順) 14 years ago, was overturned yesterday by the High Court, which sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Lin was killed by gunfire during an attempt to arrest Li and Chen Ta-min (陳達民) in a drug-related operation.

Li was initially given the death penalty, but that was changed in a retrial to five years in prison on charges of illegally possessing -firearms and not guilty on charges of manslaughter.

Chen was sentenced to life in prison.

Last year, the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office received approval for a retrial — the case’s fifth — for Li, with proceedings starting in March and concluding yesterday. Although Li denied firing at Lin, Chen and other witnesses said Li had picked up a gun and opened fire. Chen passed a polygraph test on the question, while Li failed.

In its ruling yesterday, the High Court said there was strong reason to believe that Li was Lin’s killer and sentenced him to prison for life for attempted manslaughter.

Li can still appeal to the Supreme Court.

Unhappy with the ruling, Lin’s relatives, including his nephew, Lai Da-wei (賴大為), rushed at Li as he was being escorted out of court. Lai managed to punch Li once.

“Li killed an officer who was upholding the law and only receives life imprisonment? Where’s the justice?” Lai asked.

Lin’s daughter, Lin Hsuan-ju (林軒如), said: “Our family waited 14 years for justice. How can we accept this kind of verdict?”

As they left the courthouse, Lin’s relatives came face to face with protesters from the Judicial Reform Foundation and the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, who had gathered in support of Chiou Ho-shun (邱和順), who was to hear the verdict of his 11th retrial later yesterday.

Angered by the demonstration, Lai attempted to pull down one of the protest banners and said that death sentences should be given in cases where a criminal “deserved it.”

With their actions, protesters can only cause more pain for victims’ families, he said.