The Supreme Court rendered the 106-Tai-Shang-123 Criminal Decision of March 22, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that an opinion or inference of an witness based on facts directly experienced by the witness may be relied on as a basis of determination if it is objective and irreplaceable.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, it was held in the original decision that the Defendants had jointly committed the offense of producing second-grade drugs. One of the Defendants appealed on the ground that the original decision had concluded that he was a joint principal offender based on a witness’s testimony suggesting the Defendant had purchased filters, containers and hydrogen gas cylinders for the production of drugs. However, the witness simply stated his subjective opinion during the first instance trial and mentioned several times that his testimony was based on his personal judgment. Thus, the original decision was obviously false for inappropriate application of law and failure to specify decision reasons when the witness’s opinion was admitted as evidence.
According to the Decision, testimony evidence consists of experience-based testimony and opinion-based testimony, depending on the nature of the testimony. The former refers to a statement made based on objective facts directly experienced by individuals through their senses and in their perception and is an evidentiary method about “witnesses.” Since the facts personally experienced by a witness is irreplaceable, the testimony is certainly admissible evidence pursuant to law. The latter refers to subjective judgment or opinion in a statement on certain matters (i.e., “opinion evidence”). Since this is not based on personally experienced facts, it is not admissible evidence in order to avoid the danger of personal subjective biases and erroneous conjecture. However, if a witness’s opinion or inference is based on directly experienced facts and is objective and irreplaceable rather than just an opinion or conjecture, such opinion or inference can certainly be relied on as a basis of determination.
It was further held in this Decision that the witness in this case testified that the Defendant had been instructed to purchase materials required for the production of methamphetamine and the hydrogen gas cylinders used for shipping. Since this was a statement based on the witness’s actual experience and was not just a personal opinion or conjecture, the statement was certainly admissible evidence. The admission of such evidence in the original decision was not unlawful.