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Ku urges better DNA identification protocols

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan Association for Innocence (TAFI, 冤獄平反協會理事) held a press conference yesterday, using the first successful case in which a conviction was overturned as a result of DNA re-examination to encourage the government to implement a proper DNA profiling security protocol.

Accused of sexually assaulting two women with his two friends at his residence, Chen Lung-chi (陳龍綺), a resident of Taichung, was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to four years imprisonment in March of 2010. However, Chen maintained his innocence throughout his trial, even after DNA evidence proved detrimental to his position.

Refusing to serve a sentence which he believed to be unjustified, Chen sought out the aid of TAFI, whose pro bono legal team and professor James Lee Chun-I (李俊億) of the Department of Forensic Medicine, College of Medicine at National Taiwan University (國立台灣大學醫學院法醫學科暨研究所) determined a highly likely possibility of Chen being innocent. Lee stated that the case could be further investigated with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, encouraging Chen's legal team to appeal to the court for a retrial in June 2013.

Following the retrial on Dec. 12, 2013 during which statements from DNA analysts were made, the court revised Chen's verdict and declared him innocent on March 26.

TAFI Director and Taipei City mayoral candidate Wellington Ku (顧立雄) and Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) also encouraged the implementation of a DNA security protocol like the United States. Of the 11,875 requests for retrials between 2003 and 2012 said Yu, only 60 cases were given the chance. As well as constructing a DNA security protocol, Taiwan should relax the threshold for retrial so as to grant suspects a chance to prove their innocence.

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