Taiwan studies possible appeal of court ruling favoring U.K. fugitive

06/07/2019 08:25 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday that it will work with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to study the possibility of appealing a ruling by the high court in the U.K. a day earlier denying an application by Taiwan for the extradition of British fugitive Zain Dean.

On June 6, the Scottish High Court of Judiciary ruled in a 2-1 vote that Dean cannot be extradited to Taiwan to serve a sentence.

MOFA expressed regret over the ruling, saying that while it will consult with the MOJ, it will also ask its representative office in the U.K. to contact prosecutors in Scotland to determine what further action can be taken.

Dean was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison by the Taiwan High Court in July 2012 after being found guilty in a March 2010 hit and run incident in which newspaper deliveryman, Huang Chun-teh (黃俊德) died.

Police said Dean was found to have hit Huang's motorcycle from behind when the British businessman was driving under the influence of alcohol.

After the conviction, Dean was supposed to begin serving his sentence in 2012, but fled Taiwan in August of the same year by using the passport of a British friend.

Despite there being no diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the U.K., the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on Oct. 16, 2013 and the agreement established a foundation for Dean's extradition to Taiwan.

On the day after the MOU was signed, Dean was arrested by prosecutors in Scotland and shortly thereafter Taiwan filed an extradition request.

After his arrest, Dean remained in custody in Scotland until October 2016, when he was released on bail.

In June 2014, a district court in Scotland ruled in favor of Taiwan's request for extradition and in August the Ministry of Justice in Scotland approved Dean's extradition to Taiwan before the fugitive appealed the decision in the same month.

In September 2016, the Scottish High Court of Judiciary ruled in favor of Dean, rejecting Taiwan's extradition, but following an appeal the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in June 2017 ordered the high court to hold a retrial.

According to Taiwan's MOJ, which also expressed regret over the latest ruling, the specialty doctrine has been at issue in Dean's extradition case. The doctrine prevents the requesting country from prosecuting the extradited person for any offenses other than those on which the surrendering country agreed to extradite.

In Dean's case, Taiwan has been asked not to pursue his violation of the country's immigration law after he is extradited.

The MOJ said since Taiwan's law does not contain the concept of specialty doctrine, the court had doubts the doctrine would be adhered to after Dean's extradition.

Although Taiwan has repeatedly said it will observe the doctrine the assurance failed to persuade the high court judges, the MOJ added.

Despite the setback, the MOJ said the 2013 MOU signed with the U.K. has established a new foundation for judicial cooperation between the two countries.

In an Oct. 14, 2014 trial on Dean's extradition case in Edinburgh, Judge Kenneth Maciver said the MOU between the U.K. and Taiwan to extradite the fugitive Zain Dean demonstrates that the U.K.acknowledges Taiwan as a "territory."

Maciver added that after reviewing related documents, he firmly believed he had no need to take a different stance on the matter from that of the British government.

Echoing the MOJ, MOFA said during the six year trial on Dean's extradition, the two ministries and Taiwan representative offices in the U.K. have worked closely with prosecutors in Scotland and provided necessary assistance to Scottish judicial officers.

(By Elane Hou, Hsiao Po-wen and Frances Huang)


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