The High Court yesterday upheld New Taipei City District Court’s verdicts on four men convicted last year in connection with the 2018 murder and dismemberment of a Canadian citizen on the banks of the Sindian River (新店溪).
It found American-Israeli Oren Shlomo Mayer and American Ewart Odane Bent guilty of homicide and the abandonment and destruction of a corpse, with Mayer sentenced to life in prison and Bent given a term of 12 years and six months, for the death of Sanjay Ryan Ramgahan, whose body parts were found in a riverside park under Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei’s Yonghe District (永和) on Aug. 22, 2018.
The High Court ruling also included deprivation of Mayer’s civil rights, and the presiding judge ordered that when the pair completed their sentences, or if given release on amnesty or other reasons, that they be deported.
American Jason Eugene Hobbie and Taiwanese-Canadian Wu Hsuan (吳宣) were found guilty of aiding and abetting the murder, with Hobbie sentenced to 18 months and Wu to six months, although his sentence was commuted to a fine.
All four men were acquitted on money laundering charges connected to the prosecutors’ allegations that they had sold cannabis.
After announcing their ruling, the judges asked Mayer and Bent if they had anything to say.
Mayer said that his religious rights had been violated because he had not been allowed to practice his religion in prison, the trial had been unfair and that he did not agree with the sentence, claiming he only had a minor role in killing Ramgahan.
Taiwan’s judicial system “had violated international law,” because Israel had not granted his extradition from the Philippines on Sept. 17, 2018 to Taiwan for trial, he said.
He also complained about the translation provided by the court-appointed interpreter.
When presented with the court’s transcript of his and his lawyer’s statements during the session, Mayer refused to sign.
He also asked to be released on bail so that he could contest his former girlfriend for custody of their child, saying that if he remains in prison or gets deported, she would win custody of the child, which he said would contravene a US-Taiwan agreement.
He would remain in Taiwan if released on bail as he has “close connections with Taiwan, given that his ex-girlfriend is Taiwanese, and their child is here, he said.
Bent did not contest the sentencing and signed the transcript record at the end of the session.
As yesterday’s ruling was the second in the case, Mayer, Bent and the prosecution can appeal the verdict.
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