The Criminal Compensation Court yesterday turned down an appeal by the Hsichih Trio for the highest compensation the judicial system can offer and ruled that the amount of compensation for each of them would stand at about NT$5 million (US$166,945).
The court ruled that the trio — Su Chien-ho (蘇建和), Liu Bing-lang (劉秉郎) and Chuang Lin-hsun (莊林勳) — were not tortured by police to extract confessions and that their statements acquired during interrogation after they were arrested in 1991 on murder charges made the prosecution authorities think they were guilty.
As a result, the court, which is part of the Supreme Court, ruled that the trio, who were found not guilty by the Taiwan High Court earlier this year after more than two decades in prison as death row inmates, should be given compensation totaling NT$15.846 million.
The amount was calculated based on NT$1,300 per day for Su and Liu, and NT$1,200 per day for Chuang. The three were kept behind bars for a total of 4,170 days. Their lawyer, Greg Yo (尤伯祥), had argued that each of them is entitled to compensation of up to NT$5,000 per day as stipulated in the Criminal Compensation Act (刑事補償法), which would bring the total amount of compensation to NT$62.55 million.
Su, Liu and Chuang were arrested after Wu Ming-han (吳銘漢) and his wife, Yeh Ying-lan (葉盈蘭), were murdered in March 1991 in Hsichih.
Wang Wen-hsiao (王文孝), an army conscript, was arrested for robbing and murdering the couple. He was convicted and sentenced under military law and executed on Jan. 11, 1992. His brother, Wang Wen-chung (王文忠), whom he had implicated, was also arrested and, under torture, named three classmates — Su, Liu and Chuang.
Wang Wen-chung served two years in jail after being convicted of being an accomplice, but the trio were convicted of robbery and murder, and sentenced to death in February 1992, even though there was no evidence linking them to the crime scene. However, the three were also found not guilty during several retrials.
In the latest retrial earlier this year, the High Court found them not guilty.
The court called the case closed and said the verdict was final and not subject to appeal, in accordance with the new Fair and Speedy Criminal Trials Act (刑事妥速審判法), which no longer allows judges and courts to retry cases indefinitely.
The ruling marked the third time the three had been acquitted by the High Court since the case was reopened in 2000.
Su told the court that his life has been ruined and that the compensation he requested was for the emotional and monetary losses to him and his family.
Yo said that even the NT$5,000 per day compensation would “never be enough” to compensate for the losses suffered by the three men.
Because of public discrimination against them due to them having been convicted, they may never be able to find jobs, he said.