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September 19, 2017

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Prosecutors refuse to 'bargain' with UK fugitive

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwanese prosecutors rejected on Friday the three conditions laid down by a British businessman to return to Taiwan and deal with judicial proceedings related to his conviction in a fatal hit-and-run case.

"We are responsible for carrying out the sentence handed down by the court against the defendant. We don't bargain with fugitives," said Huang Mo-hsin, a spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

"Anyone who doesn't agree with the sentence of a court should appeal for a remedy via the legal process rather than flee."

Huang was referring to the case of British businessman Zain Taj Dean, who was sentenced to four years in a final judgment after being convicted in July 2012 on charges of hitting and killing a newspaper delivery man while driving under the influence of alcohol in March 2010.

Dean issued a statement Friday through one of his Taiwanese friends insisting that he was not given a fair trial in Taiwan but offering to return to the country if three conditions were met.

He asked that an international human rights group should serve as an observer at the trial; a legal human rights group from Taiwan should also be present during the trial; and video evidence of the accident should be presented because it will exonerate him, ETtoday reported.

Though Dean's four-year sentence for causing another person's death while driving under the influence cannot be appealed, a case against him for fleeing the scene of the accident is still being prosecuted.

After Dean was convicted, he was barred from leaving the country by the court, but the British national left Taiwan using the passport of a British friend on Aug. 14, 2012, before prosecutors could order him to serve his jail term.

Meanwhile, Huang Kuo-an, the father of the newspaper deliver man who died after being hit by Dean's car, dismissed Dean's contention that the trial was unfair as nonsense.

"The judges have given him ample opportunity to defend himself during the trial," Huang said.

A worker with the Shilin chapter of the Association for Victims Supports said Friday he was going to visit Huang the next day.

The association has regularly looked after Huang since the accident, and the worker said that Huang was very angry after learning that Dean had fled Taiwan days before prosecutors could order him to serve his four-year sentence.

The association has offered Huang a consolation payment of NT$18,000 every three months since his son's death because he and his bedridden wife relied on the income of their son to eke out a meager living, the worker said.

As long as Taiwan's jurisdiction approves those three conditions, Dean said in the reported statement, he will return to Taiwan to face justice, according to the report.

Dean was sentenced to four years in prison in July 2012 on charges of killing a newspaper delivery man in a drunk driving accident in March 2010.

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