Doubts raised over former Shenzhen policeman's murder conviction

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 7:21pm

Doubts have been raised over Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court conviction of a former policeman who was sentenced to death for murder on Tuesday.

Li Caikun was convicted for setting up a known criminal named Ban in a fake robbery and shooting him in 2012. Li claimed that Ban posed a threat to society.

However, the defendant’s behaviour before and during the trial has raised doubts over the verdict.

On his way to court, Li pulled up his top to reveal a T-shirt with the Chinese characters “sorrow” and “injustice” written on it. In court he was at times distracted, hysterical and distraught. As soon as the judge finished reading the verdict, Li shouted out that he would appeal.

“I hadn’t expected he would be that emotional,” said Ding Yiyuan, Li’s lawyer. “I’ve told him several times to face reality.”

According to Ding, Li didn’t plan to kill Ban, but instead set up the robbery to entrap Ban, who Li considered a threat to society. As soon as Li realised Ban was dead, he called the police and emergency services.

Ding argues that as Li turned himself in and confessed, the court should take this into account and reduce his sentence. The lawyer also wants Li to undergo psychiatric assessment, which in conjunction with Li’s family medical history and his eratic behaviour during the trial, could prove that he is suffering from intermittent insanity.

On July 1, last year, Ban was arrested in Shenzhen for reporting a false crime. During the investigation process, Ban verbally abused, humiliated and challenged Li, who was the officer in charge. Ban was released due to lack of evidence but Li was convinced Ban would reoffend – an opinion based on Ban’s previous conduct and appearance.

Li then devised a plan to frame Ban, but did not intend to kill him, according to Ding.

Video: Former Shenzhen policeman Li Caikun protests his innocence

Ding argues that as Li had retracted the original confession he made in a police station and given a different testimony, the court should not consider any part of either of the two contradictory testimonies in its final judgment. Yet, the court chose to only consider Li’s earlier confession.

“No one knows the real motivation except himself,” said Ding. “The court made an assumption about his motive based on his earlier confession, but his testimonies are contradictory.”

The court considered Ban’s humiliation of Li and Li’s suspicion that Ban would reoffend as Li’s motives to kill Ban.

After an initial hearing in March, Li offered nearly one million yuan in compensation to Ban’s family and asked their forgiveness, which earned him a two-year stay of execution.