TAIPEI–Taiwan’s Supreme Court overturned Wednesday a Taiwan High Court’s not guilty conviction of an Army brigade commander in the 2013 death of a conscript and remanded the case back to the High Court.
In its second ruling on the case in February 2015, the High Court gave longer sentences to several defendants who played a role in the death of Army conscript Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) in 2013, which brought major reforms to the military justice system. However, it overturned the conviction of Shen Wei-chih (沈威志), the commander of 542 Brigade.
The rulings changed the original verdict of the Taoyuan District Court in March 2014 in the high-profile case, in which 13 of the 18 defendants were found guilty on charges including abuse of power, offenses against personal freedom and negligent homicide. The other five were found not guilty.
In the original ruling, Shen was sentenced to six months, and 12 other defendants were given sentences ranging from three to eight months, which Hung’s bereaved family members appealed against as “too lenient.”
Last February’s reversal cleared Shen of guilt but found 15 other defendants guilty, while maintaining the district court’s not guilty verdict for the two remaining defendants.
Among the new sentences handed down, the longest sentences went to the deputy head of the brigade, Ho Chiang-chung (何江忠), and company commander Hsu Shin-cheng (徐信正), whose sentences were increased from six and eight months, respectively, to three years each. Sergeant Fan Tso-hsien (范佐獻) received two years and eight months, after originally being sentenced to six months.
The 24-year-old conscript died of heat exhaustion July 4, 2013 after being forced to do strenuous exercise in sweltering heat in a confinement facility where he should not have been detained to begin with, the court found.
After an appeal, the Supreme Court remanded Shen’s case back to the High Court Wednesday.
Hung’s 33-year-old sister Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸), running on New Power Party ticket, defeated veteran Kuomintang Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) to win a seat in the central city of Taichung in the Jan. 16 legislative elections.