The family of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) yesterday complained that military courts had not allowed their attorneys to review documents relating to the indictment of 18 military personnel over Hung’s death.
Military prosecutors on Aug. 2 indicted 18 officers and non-commissioned officers. The defendants were brought to the North Military District Court and the High Military Court respectively.
Hung’s sister, Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), said yesterday that the attorneys have been unable to review documents military prosecutors delivered to the military courts along with the indictment.
“The military courts said military judges review the documents first, but it’s been more than 10 days since the indictment, and if the attorneys cannot review the documents, they do not know how to proceed during a trial,” she said.
“According to the attorneys, the military courts only have to make a copy of the documents for attorneys to review,” she said. “The lawyers said that in civilian courts, attorneys could normally review indictment documents the day after the indictment.”
While the case is soon to be transferred to the civilian judiciary after an amendment to the Code of Court Martial Procedure (軍事審判法) was passed in the legislature on Tuesday, Hung Tzu-yung said her family hope the amendment takes effect as soon as possible.
She added that both military prosecutors and the lawyers plan to file a second appeal today against the military courts’ decision to release four key defendants.
The High Military Court last week maintained its decision to release the former deputy commander of the 542nd Brigade, Colonel Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠); company commander Major Hsu Shin-cheng (徐信正) and Staff Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐憲) on bail.
Staff Sergeant Chen Yi-hsun (陳毅勳) was also set free by the North Military District Court last week.
After consecutive days of drill exercises in a military detention facility, Hung died from heatstroke and multiple organ failure in hospital on July 4, just three days before he was due to be discharged from his compulsory military service.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Office said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would handle the amendments to the code in accordance with constitutional procedures once they are sent to the Presidential Office.
Hung Tzu-yung urged the president to formally announce the amendments before he left for a 12-day trip to Latin America and the Caribbean yesterday and to allow the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office and district court to take over the case.
Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said the amendment was still in the legislature prior to being sent to the Presidential Office.
“President Ma will handle the amendment as soon as possible after the Presidential Office receives it,” she said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Ma is due to return to Taiwan on Aug. 22.