Taiwan - The Circumstances In Which The Facts And Reasons Set Forth In A Guilty Decision Will Constitute A Legal Violation For Contradictory Reasons Of Decision.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Taiwan - Regulatory & Compliance - Dispute Resolution

23 October 2020
 

The Supreme Court rendered the 109-Tai-Shang-2164 Decision of May 14, 2020 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that the facts and reasons set forth in a guilty decision and the explanation about the reasons of decision should be consistent from the beginning to the end and should conform to evidentiary materials, or the decision would be illegal for contradictory reasons of decision.
 

According to the facts underlying this Decision, A applied to the Pingtung County Government for logging on his No. X farming and stockraising land reserved for the indigenous peoples.  The Pingtung County Government subsequently approved an extension period from January 12, 2015 to January 26 of the same year.  Appellant B was hired by A to cut down trees and prepare the land in that location.  Out of the criminal intent to steal forest main products, B hired C to illegally harvest the forest main products in the forest on the No. Y national land managed by the Council of the Indigenous Peoples above the road where the No. X land is located and hired D to transport the logs so stolen down from the mountain to sell to E.
 

According to the Decision, the facts and reasons set forth in a guilty decision and the explanation about the reasons of decision should be consistent from the beginning to the end and should conform to evidentiary materials, or the decision would be illegal for contradictory reasons of decision and this will constitute a ground for its reversal.
 

In addition, according to the Decision, the original decision concluded, by way of inference, that since the trees on the No. Y land were felled illegally, Appellant B, who had been hired by A to cut down trees and prepared the land on the No. X land during January 12, 2015 through January 26 of the same year, had stolen the forest main products on the No. Y land by taking the opportunity of being hired to cut down trees and prepare the land.  According to the reasons of the decision, the findings in the decision were based on the fact that Appellant B was hired to cut down trees and prepare the land on the No. X land and on the witness testimonies given during the police interrogation and first instance hearings and on the government letters.  However, none of the testimonies and government letters cited in the original decision mentioned the fact that Appellant B was hired by A to fell trees and prepare the land on the No. X land.  In addition, the police interrogations were not the testimony of Appellant’s B.  Although it was stated that Appellant B was hired to prepare the land on the No. X land during the testimonies given in the prior instances of trial, still the exact time of the employment was never mentioned.  However, it was concluded in the original decision that Appellant B was hired to cut down trees and prepare the land during the above period and concluded, by way of inference unfavorable to Appellant B, that the trees on the No. Y land were felled illegally by Appellant B, who seized opportunities to do that when he was hired to work on the No. X land.  Since the finding of facts was not consistent with the evidence as cited, there was a mistake for contradictory reasons of decision. In addition, according to witness testimonies, although Appellant B was hired to cut down trees on the No. X land, still the period of such employment was not consistent with the timing of crime from January 12, 2015 through January 26 of the same year.  The original decision, in which such witness testimony was still cited and relied on as the basis for concluding the Appellant’s crime, is obviously erroneous for contradictory reasons of decision. Therefore, since the illegality of the original decision has affected the determination of facts, the original decision should be reversed and remanded.
 


 

For further information, please contact:  

 

Jenny Chen, Lee Tsai & Partners

[email protected]