The Wild East / Peace & Justice
Taiwan’s media have turned from the Zane Dean case to Lin Yi-shih, and now the Philippine Row.
What makes this poignant and ironic is (for those who remember) a number of years ago, a Taiwanese gangster was sentenced to jail; he complained of a heart condition and so went to a hospital with two police as escort. Somehow after he had his heart exam, he walked out of the hospital, got to the airport and made it to a safe haven in China. Say what??? What about the police guard, and immigration etc.The newspapers did not make that much of this; and I believe the police got a slap on the wrist, but no one did jail time; Chris has been in jail since early this year.
Below is a summary of Zane’s lawyer Billy Chen (陳達成) in the first trial. It may help in understanding some of the system.
It was pointed out that there are over 2,000 people killed in motor scooter accidents a year in Taiwan, but only Zane’s case got this attention.
“Systems are important, but can be distorted. In Taiwan lawyers wear court garb as well as the prosecutors and judge–this makes them be treated as civil servants.
An exam is only needed to fill these roles; it is a difficult exam and so is usually passed only by those who keep their nose in the books and have little time for the outside world Protesters against justice won’t get in. Such people have little experience of the outside world, including gangster/police connections etc. They would not have much experience of a KTV where Zane was and the parking lot attendant who drove Zane away from there.
In the first trial, the defense was not presented with any of the video to refute the evidence. (Later mentioned by Tom Hall, who followed both trials a video surfaced for the 2nd trial;) in the tape the parking lot attendant that drove Zane home had a long sleeve white shirt on; but the attendant seen on the video returning to the club parking lot after walking the car out had short sleeves–the court did not question this and accepted the testimony of the short sleeve man as being the driver who said Zane took over shortly after leaving). There are other discrepancies as well; the original video of Zane’s car in his garage showed little damage to the fender; a later picture in the media of the compounded car showed it bashed in.
Zane got an additional year and a half added to his original sentence of 2 and a half years because he appealed. Zane did not do the cultural thing of showing remorse and begging the courts forgiveness.
In the court it was more a case of Zane trying to prove his innocence than the court proving him guilty. Because prosecutors and judges are all seen as civil servants they have a leaning to support the government; in the Zane Dean case, the government felt embarassed by Zane getting out. There are some prejudices that still reflect the shame of the Opium War in the 19th century.
As was mentioned there are over 2000 scooter deaths a year in Taiwan, but few can recall anyone going to jail and what compensation has been made in each case.
The sentencing for Chris (it is suspected he will take the brunt of what Zane is accused of) is on May 30.
The lawyer is in a group that are pushing for a jury system for Taiwan–how good that is, is a question for those to debate as they compare the systems.