The Supreme Court rendered the 105-Tai-Shang-908 Criminal Decision of April 14, 2016 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if a witness is a counterparty to the vote buying act of an actor, his/her unfavorable testimony concerning the actor’s vote buying is not a confession of a co-offender under Article 156, Paragraph 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the original trial court found as a result of its examination upheld the decision that Appellant Chun-cheng Lin had committed the offense of delivering bribes under Article 99, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Law and rejected the Appellant’s second instance appeal. The Appellant asserted in his appeal reasons that since the witnesses in this matter were all corresponding offenders of the offense of delivering election bribes allegedly committed by the Appellant, their testimonies require augmented evidence, and that since their testimonies were self-contradictory without augmented evidence, the basis of the original trial court for finding the Appellant guilty as charged was erroneous.
According to the Decision, Article 156, Paragraph 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that the confession of a co-offender shall not serve as the only evidence that supports a guilty verdict. Although the co-offenders include joint principal offenders, still the “corresponding offenders” in a joint offense in theory (such as the offense of bribery or gambling) are not joint principal offenders since they have different objectives and are responsible for their own behavior without any communication of criminal intent between them. Therefore, the above provision is not applicable. It was also held in the Decision that the so-called the augmentation in augmented evidence is not required to cover the entire facts and is only required to confirm the criminal facts according to general social concepts by verifying the augmented evidence against other evidence.
It was further held in this Decision that since the Appellant had bribed the witnesses in this matter, the witnesses were the counterparties to the Appellant’s vote buying acts without communication of joint criminal intent. Therefore, their unfavorable testimonies to the Appellant in this vote buying case are not the confessions of co-offenders under the above-mentioned provision. The basis cited by the original guilty decision in this case is not subject to the restriction under the above requirement that such evidence should not be the only evidence. In addition, each witness separately submitted a bribe of NT$1,000 as evidence in this case and had no motive and necessity to set up and frame the Appellant. Therefore, the appeal was rejected since such evidence enhanced the verity of such allegation and made the Appellant vote buying offense credible, and the allegation was not unlawful.