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Taiwan Supreme Court ruling sets stage for murderer to once again face death penalty


台灣最高法院的裁決讓殺人犯再次面對死刑判決


In second trial, Taiwan High Court had reduced punishment for perpetrator from death to life imprisonment


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Supreme Court on Monday (Oct. 26) decided to revoke the sentence of life imprisonment for Chen Po-chien (陳伯謙), the defendant in the Taipei Huashan murder case.

The ruling sends it back to the Taiwan High Court for a retrial, setting the stage for the perpetrator to once again face the prospect of being sentenced to death, according to a CNA report.

Chen was indicted in August 2018 on charges of sexual assault and murder in addition to abandonment and destruction of a corpse.

The victim, surnamed Kao (高), was a female member of an archery class Chen organized and taught on the lawn of Taipei's Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

On May 31, 2018, Chen and Kao spent time together and consumed alcohol. Chen admitted that he tried to rape Kao while she was sleeping; he explained that her resistance upon waking stirred him to further violence.

Chen strangled Kao, dismembered her body, and scattered it around a remote part of Yangmingshan National Park. He then spent the money he found in her purse.

The defendant admitted to murder and other crimes during the investigation but denied having raped Kao. However, during the trial, Chen recanted his confession and claimed that Kao was killed by a Taiwanese man named "Eric," insisting he only helped dismember and dispose of the body.

The implausible story was dismissed by the Taipei District Court, and Chen was convicted on multiple counts and sentenced to death in August 2019.

In the second trial, however, the Taiwan High Court held that Chen confessed to the crimes he had committed as well as the location he had dumped the body. He later led police to find the remains, which enabled investigators to cement their case with physical evidence.

The Taiwan High Court had ruled that since Chen obtained a mitigating factor in the sentencing by means of his confession, the second trial could not maintain the death penalty, thereby reducing the punishment to life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court countered that Chen had several times misled the investigation by giving false information, and it ruled that the lower court had failed to consider this when deciding to reduce the punishment. Therefore, the highest court in the land revoked the lower court’s ruling and demanded a retrial.
 
George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer  
2020-10-27  

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