The Banking Law provides that the criminal punishment on a perpetrator who confesses to the crime during interrogation and voluntarily surrenders all criminal proceeds shall be reduced (Taiwan)

Teresa Huang
The Supreme Court rendered the 105-Tai-Shang-1590 Criminal Decision of June 29, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that the confessions under Article 125-4, Paragraph 2 of the Banking Law are not preconditioned by voluntary cooperation. If a perpetrator confesses to a crime during interrogation and voluntarily surrenders all criminal proceeds, the criminal punishment should be reduced.

According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellants were found in the original decision to have committed breach of trust under Article 125-2 of the Banking Law before amendment by jointly and continuously using forged documents as indicated in the fact section of the original decision. Therefore, the criminal punishment and the not-guilty first-instance decisions were reversed and imprisonment of 24 to 42 months was imposed. Dissatisfied, the Appellants filed this appeal.

It was first pointed out in the Decision that the original trial court failed to investigate evidence which should have been investigated on the trial dates, and that the guilty decision failed to record the criminal facts in detail, and that the facts determined in the original decision were inconsistent with the evidence cited, which caused the original decision to violate laws and regulations. In addition, the first part of Article 125-4, Paragraph 2 of the Banking Law provides that the criminal punishment on any person who commits offenses under Articles 125, 125-2 or 125-3 of the same law will be reduced if a confession to the crime is provided during interrogation and all criminal proceeds, if any, are voluntarily surrendered. The gist of this provision is to encourage defendants to be courageous and mend their ways after they have committed the above-mentioned offenses. For defendants who confess to the offenses during interrogation and voluntarily surrender all criminal proceeds during investigation and trial, clemency should be granted since these gestures are sufficient to confirm their intention to repent and mend their ways. The so-called “confessions during interrogation” include confessions provided by an actor during interrogation in an investigation agency and during interrogation as the actor is detained following a prosecutor’s detention application to the court. In addition, with respect to the so-called “confessions,” whether they are voluntary or passive, simple or detailed, provided once, twice or more, subsequently changed or not, if confessions are given during interrogation and all criminal proceeds are voluntarily surrendered, the punishment should be reduced pursuant to such article. Finally, the original decision was reversed and remanded by this Decision on the ground that the original decision violated laws and regulations and failed to ascertain the factual basis to determine if the Appellants were eligible for sentence reduction pursuant to the above-mentioned provision.