TAIWAN — On 23 March, the Kaohsiung High Court rejected a Taiwanese culprit named Liang Yuzhi(梁育誌)’s appeal to revoke his death sentence, due to his lack of remorse or empathy for his 24-year-old victim, surnamed Chung, as well as his high risk of recidivism.
However, in the recent ruling by Taiwan’s Supreme Court, the judge identified contradictions in the facts and reasoning behind the death sentence in the second trial, along with incomplete investigations.
According to Taiwan’s state media agency CNA, on Wednesday (14 June), the Supreme Court ordered the revocation and remand of the conviction related to the charges of forced sexual intercourse and murder for further review.
The case will be returned to the Kaohsiung High Court for a retrial, potentially prolonging Liang’s death sentence trial, despite the previous first and second trials sentencing him to death.
Supreme Court highlighted the inadequacy in the second trial’s determination of Liang’s planned crimes
The Supreme Court emphasized that there may have been a violation of investigative responsibilities in the second trial. The determination of whether Liang’s planned crimes included murder was found to be inconsistent.
While the second trial established that forced sexual intercourse and robbery were planned crimes, it did not include murder in that determination. However, in the reasoning, it concluded that murder was indeed part of the planned crimes.
The judge believed that the second trial did not fully fulfill its responsibilities in determining whether the entire case constituted planned crimes and in sentencing.
The second trial determined that Liang had the “highest risk” of reoffending and no reasonable expectation of reform.
However, the Supreme Court highlighted that the assessment of the possibility of correctional education was only conducted for the part involving sexual assault crimes, neglecting the assessment for the robbery charge.
As a result, there were inconsistencies and insufficient investigation in evaluating the likelihood of recidivism, leading to the revocation of the charges of forced sexual intercourse and murder.
In regards to the charges of abandoning a corpse and attempting forcible sexual intercourse, the second trial sentenced Liang to 2 years and 2 years 10 months of imprisonment, respectively. For these charges, Liang’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court, which upheld the convictions.
Victim’s mother expressed her disappointment in recent ruling
According to a TVBS report, the mother of Ms. Chung expressed her deep concerns about the fairness of Taiwan’s judiciary upon learning of the recent ruling.
She and her lawyer received no prior notification before the court decided to revoke the verdict, leaving her with doubts about the transparency of the legal process.
Tearfully, the mother of Ms. Chung recounted instances where Liang Yuzhi had targeted other female students before her daughter’s tragic murder.
Expressing disbelief, she questioned the judge’s claim that the perpetrator did not have a premeditated plan for murder, stating, “I sent my daughter to Taiwan to pursue her studies, not to meet her untimely death. She has already suffered a devastating fate. Why won’t they ensure justice for her?”
Liang’s demonic act in 2020 shocked the entire community in Malaysia and Taiwan
Back in October 2020, Irene Chung, a 24-year-old female Malaysian student was abducted and later sexually assaulted, killed by a Taiwanese male.
Irene Chung was a student studying at Taiwan’s Chang Jung Christian University in Tainan. The culprit named Liang Yuzhi later abandoned Chung’s body in a mountainous area.
The police traced Liang and found the location where the body was abandoned, Mount A-Lian in Kaohsiung City, based on his confession.
Taiwan police discovered that the female student had been dead for a while. Liang confessed that he had previously attempted to abduct someone nearby but was unsuccessful.
He defended that his intention was to commit sexual assault but accidentally killed Chung.
However, after a detailed investigation by the police and prosecutor, it was revealed that the victim had marks of strangulation on her neck and signs of bleeding from the nose and mouth, indicating death by suffocation.
The forensic examiner also found evidence suggesting sexual assault before the victim’s death.
Based on the examination results, the prosecutor re-interrogated Liang again, eventually Liang confessed that he sexually assaulted Chung before strangling her to death.
Liang’s demonic act shocked the entire community in Malaysia and Taiwan. Liang was sentenced to death for the charge of murder in the second trial in March 2023.
As for the civil part, Chung’s parents sought compensation of 20 million New Taiwan Dollars (approximately 649,600 USD).
On 15 May, the Taiwan Kaohsiung District Court Qiaotou Branch announced the judgment, ruling that Liang should compensate over 5.94 million New Taiwan Dollars (approximately 192,931 USD). The case is subject to appeal.