Appeals Court Overturns Guilty Verdict after Practitioner's Family Complains of Illegal Procedures
(Minghui.org) An appeals court in Shanxi Province overturned the guilty verdict handed down to a Falun Dafa practitioner on May 26, after his family filed repeated complaints protesting the verdict and faulting the lower court for violating legal procedures.
The family of the defendant, Mr. Liu Guisheng (刘贵生), was notified of the Shuozhou City Intermediate Court's decision two days later. The ruling overturned the three-year prison sentence handed down by the Huairen County Court and directed the court to reprocess the case.
Family Protests Lower Court's Sentence
Mr. Liu Guisheng was illegally arrested for practicing Falun Dafa and distributing Shen Yun DVDs in July 2014. He was tried and sentenced in the Huairen County Court in December 2014 to three years in prison.
His family appealed the ruling to the Shuozhou City Intermediate Court. At the appeal hearing on March 19, Mr. Liu's attorney pointed out that neither he, his client, or his client's family was ever notified of the hearing, a clear violation of the law. Unable to explain the breach of protocol, the judge adjourned the proceedings.
Appeals Court and Lower Court Faulted for Not Following Legal Procedures
Mr. Liu's family filed formal complaints on March 30, charging the appeals court and the lower court with violating legal procedures. Four complaints – two for each court – were mailed to two Shuozhou Procuratorate offices, and another two complaints for the lower court were mailed to two Huairen Procuratorate offices.
The complaints accused the courts of failing to send trial notices to the defendant and his representative as required by law. The lower court also failed to offer the defendant an opportunity to verify the written record of the court proceedings as dictated by law.
In the month that followed, Mr. Liu's family members went to the Shuozhou Procuratorate and other relevant departments many times to inquire about the status of their complaints.
Complaints Filed Again, Verdict Overturned
Because no one gave them a definitive answer, they filed additional complaints on May 3, faulting the appeals court for failing to reach a verdict within the legally specified time frame.
The family followed up with the departments after filing the new complaints. A few weeks later, the higher court made the decision to overturn the original verdict.