The third instance trial can no longer arbitrarily challenge the facts determined in the trial of fact based on evidence and logical and empirical rules (Taiwan)

Tiffany Hsiao

The Supreme Court rendered the 109-Tai-Shang-2833 Decision of June 24, 2020 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that the facts determined by the trial of fact based on evidence and logical and empirical rules cannot be arbitrarily challenged in the third instance trial any more.  The taking of evidence and determination of facts are the prerogative of the trial court and cannot be arbitrarily alleged to be unlawful if its determination does not violate logical or empirical rules.

According to the facts underlying this Decision, Defendant A was obviously aware that financial accounts, passbooks, ATM cards and passwords are important financial management tools for his own use and a symbol of his personal property and credit and could have foreseen that when strangers would obtain other people’s financial accounts for various reasons often in close connection with property crimes in order to conceal the proceeds of crime and avoid investigation by judicial authorities.  However, Defendant A still provided his bank accounts, passbooks, ATM cards and passwords he had applied for to the members of a fraud syndicate with dolus indeterminatus to aid and abet fraud.  Out of a criminal intent to obtain money by way of fraud to pursue their own illegal possession, the members of the fraud syndicate called the victims, pretending to be their friends in dire need of money.  As a result, the victims made mistakes and wired money to A’s bank accounts per instruction before it was completely withdrawn by the members of the fraud syndicate shortly thereafter.  The victims called the police later after noticing something abnormal.

The Defendant has many years of social and work experience and should be aware that passbooks, ATM cards and passwords, once given to another person, may be used to commit property crimes.  He should be able to foresee that his reckless handover to another person may allow the recipient to freely use them to obtain proceeds of crimes, but he still handed them over to a third party with whom he was not mutually acquainted and allowed him/her to create false money flows or make other illicit use.  Therefore, this is sufficient to conclude that he had dolus indeterminatus to commit the offense of aiding others to obtain money by fraud.  In addition, ATM cards for financial accounts must be used with correct passwords, which are more private than the ATM cards, and it is extremely unusual to share them with others without justification.  This is a fact well-known to ordinary people according to their life experiences.  The Defendant’s bank accounts were rarely used but were used intensively by someone with the ATM cards within two days of the outbreak of this case.  It was determined in this Decision that the original trial court held, based on the above reasons, that the Appellant had dolus indeterminatus to aid others to commit the crime of obtaining property by fraud, and that the taking of evidence, the determination of facts and the reasoning do not violate empirical, logical or other evidentiary rules.  In addition, it is not uncommon in judicial practice for the members of a fraud syndicate who have provided account passbooks, ATM cards and passwords to be trained in advance and to deliberately show flaws in the use of the accounts so that they can deny their crime by giving excuses after the outbreak of a case.    Since the questionable point about the Appellant’s loss report was pointed out in the original decision after this case broke out and why this was insufficient to support a determination in favor of the Appellant was explained, the original decision could not be readily challenged and accused of being illegal.  Therefore, the appeal was rejected.