Court owes victim of miscarriage of justice an apology
year, Liu Zhonglin, from Northeast China’s Jilin province, had his conviction for murder overturned. On Jan 7, he received 4.6 million yuan ($680,202) in compensation from the government. Beijing News comments:
Liu was set free in 2016. Before that, he had already been imprisoned for 9,217 days, or over 20 years.
It is not hard to imagine how much Liu suffered. According to reports, he had tirelessly been filing complaints about being wrongfully convicted both in prison and after being set free, and his relatives also worked hard to have his innocence recognized by the court for more than 10 years.
Justice was finally done in April when the court admitted he had been wrongfully convicted.
The State recognizes his suffering, too, as about 2 million yuan of the compensation he received is for his emotional suffering. That has set a highest record for cases of this kind.
In 2014, the Supreme People’s Court issued a guiding document that set the standards for compensation for emotional suffering for those who were wrongly found guilty, saying the amount should be related to the faults of the State employees concerned, the actual suffering of the victim, as well as the average living standards where the victim lives.
The standards are not so detailed, therefore discussions about the amount in actual cases have never ceased. The high amount of compensation Liu received for his emotional suffering is progress because it shows the State respects the personal dignity of citizens and bears the responsibility for wrongs committed by its staff.
However, besides the compensation, Liu should get a sincere apology from the judicial staff who wrongly sent him to prison for over 20 years.
Judicial staff should bear responsibility for the wrong verdicts they make. Making an apology to the victim should be part of the move. The staff who wrongly sent Liu to prison 20 years ago should offer Liu a sincere apology.