Family protests sentence cuts in abuse case

APPEAL FOR JUSTICE::The family of a toddler who died from horrific physical abuse called on judges to show empathy and vowed ongoing protests until justice is served

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Feb 01, 2013 - Page 3

Family members of a two-year-old child who died from physical abuse protested against a High Court ruling that commuted the main defendant’s death sentence to 30 years in jail, and called on the public to join a sit-in protest this morning in front of the Judicial Yuan.

The two year-old, named Wang Hao (王昊), died from physical abuse last year when his mother took him to stay with Liu Chin-lung (劉金龍) after the child’s father went to prison.

Liu and his friends Chou Chien-hui (周建輝), Hsu Kuan-hsiung (許冠雄) and Cheng Sheng-feng (鄭盛峰) — who all had previous criminal records — were accused of using hammers to break his nose and limbs, using needle-nose pliers to rip off his nails and injecting him with amphetamines and heroin.

Taipei District Court had given Liu the death sentence, Chou life imprisonment, Hsu 13 years in prison and Cheng 14 years in prison on murder charges.

However, a High Court ruling this week said that the suspects had not lost their consciences entirely, and commuted Liu’s death sentence to 30 years in jail, while Chou’s sentence was reduced to 20 years and Hsu’s to nine. Cheng’s sentence remained unchanged at 14 years.

Accompanied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇), the toddler’s aunt, Wang Wei-chun (王薇君), yesterday accused the judges of lacking empathy in reducing the sentences as she showed pictures of Wang’s body, which was covered in scars and bruises.

“Do you judges have no empathy at all? After seeing his body, how can you say that those murderers still have consciences?” she asked in tears yesterday at Taipei City Council.

Wang Wei-chun, who served as chief executive of the Taiwan Children’s Rights Association, said the group would launch a sit-in protest at 10am this morning in front of the Judicial Yuan to protest against what she called an unfair ruling, and called on the public to join the sit-in and wear black or white T-shirts to show their concern over the injustice.

Many netizens have also expressed anger on the Internet over the ruling, and said they would participate in today’s sit-in protest.

Wang Wei-chun vowed to keep appealing the case until justice is served for her nephew.