Man paid NT$28m for 16-year wrongful jailing

VALUE OF LIFE::The High Court decided to award Hsu Tzu-chiang NT$5,000 per day in custody based on his sound finances and good job before his conviction

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 4

The High Court on Thursday ruled that a man wrongly imprisoned for nearly 16 years should receive NT$28.12 million (US$932,072) in compensation, a record amount for a person wrongfully convicted in a criminal case.

Hsu Tzu-chiang (徐自強) was last year declared not guilty by the High Court in the ninth retrial of his case, in which he was accused of playing a role in the 1995 kidnapping and murder of a wealthy businessman.

Hsu was held in custody for 5,808 days from June 24, 1996, to May 18, 2012, a statement issued by the High Court said.

However, he was also concurrently detained in an unrelated gambling case for 184 days, so the court ruled he should receive NT$5,000 in compensation for each of the remaining 5,624 days he was wrongfully jailed.

The review panel said Hsu’s conviction was based on confessions by his codefendants, but those were found to have been obtained unlawfully by the police.

Hsu was employed as a truck driver on a salary of more than NT$100,000 per month before he was arrested and he was deemed financially stable, as he was able to lend money to friends, invest in a betel nut stand and jointly purchase pre-construction real estate with his brother, the panel said.

Hsu was held in custody in the prime of his life at the age of 26 and not released until the age of 43, depriving him of 16 years of freedom, family and career, the court said.

In 2011, a military court awarded NT$100 million in compensation to the family of Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶), a soldier who was wrongly executed for the rape and murder of a young girl, the highest ever awarded for a miscarriage of justice in a military case.