Hit-and-run victim’s family files suit

By Chang Wen-chuan and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Feb 06, 2013 - Page 4

The Taipei District Court yesterday opened proceedings in a civil case filed by the family of the victim in the Zain Dean hit-and-run case, demanding compensation of NT$9.31 million (US$320,000), with a ruling expected on Feb. 27.

The case was filed by the parents of Huang Chun-te (黃俊德), a newspaper delivery man who was struck and killed in what the Taipei District Court last year ruled was a drunk driving accident in Taipei in March 2010. Dean, a British businessman, was convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison in July last year, but fled the country in August.

Dean’s lawyer, Hsu Ping-yi (徐秉義), said there had been no contact with his client in the past six months and denied suggestions that Dean was now in the UK giving instructions for his defense strategy.

Asked if his fees had been paid in full, Hsu replied that he was not clear on the details, because the expenses were handled by the law firm.

The victim’s father, Huang Kuo-an (黃國安), and mother, Ho Tsai (何猜), are the plaintiffs in the civil case.

Their lawyer, Chuang Chien-cheng (莊乾誠), said they filed for provisional seizure against Dean shortly after the accident in 2010, but there was no property registered in Dean’s name.

“Even the Mercedes-Benz car involved in the accident was already sold off. The court was unable to confiscate any of Dean’s property. As of now, the family has only received a NT$1.4 million payout from the compulsory auto insurance,” Chuang said.

He said the family was facing poverty. The victim’s father is 66 years old, with only a small income from occasional manual labor jobs.

The mother, 62, has no income, suffers from diabetes and is in a nursing home. Their only son was killed in the accident, and their only daughter is married and no longer lives with them.

Chuang said the amount sought was based on funeral costs, provisions for their support and compensation for emotional distress.

Because Dean has absconded, the family is considering applying to the government for payment from a compensation fund for victims of crime.