Supreme Court hears debate on death sentence
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Supreme Court held a hearing yesterday to examine the justification of a death sentence handed down by lower courts on a man who killed his father.
January 17, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The court is expected to announce its verdict on the case Jan. 30.
Chen Yu-an was found guilty of killing his father in September 2010 by stabbing him more than 110 times. Chen was sentenced to death by a district court and the sentence was upheld by the Taiwan High Court.
Appealing for mercy on behalf of the defendant during the hearing, lawyer Wang Pao-li argued that the tragedy was the result of many “objective factors.”
He said Chen was mentally ill, had problems sleeping, and did not get along well with his parents.
The father often scolded the jobless Chen and threatened to kick him out of the family, Wang said.
Given that Chen had had no previous criminal record and showed remorse during the first trial, the court should reconsider the death sentence, the lawyer said.
Prosecutor Chen Wen-li, however, said a psychiatric assessment of the defendant had determined that he was mentally capable at the time of the crime, as evidenced by his clear description of the murder.
Before the murder, the defendant made notes detailing his plan, which demonstrates that the crime was premeditated, the prosecutor said. Furthermore, the defendant once said he felt “no remorse” immediately after the killing, the prosecutor added.
The father, who was in his 50s, was working to support his family and his request that his son find a job was what most parents would expect of their children, the prosecutor said. It was ungrateful of the son to kill his father just because he was told to find a job, Chen Wen-li said.
The prosecutor cited a letter written by the defendant's mother, in which she asked the court to uphold the death sentence against her son. She expressed fears that her son would cause “bloodshed” and endanger the safety of the whole family if he was released from prison.
As a way of showing the judiciary's respect for human rights, the Supreme Court recently introduced a new system under which debates are held on appeal cases involving the death sentence.
The first such hearing was held Dec. 24, 2012, debating the case of a man who shot and killed his girlfriend in 2009.