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Convicted rapist petitions higher court to review case

Updated: 2013-11-28 09:14
By Hou Liqiang ( China Daily)

The lawyer for Li Tianyi, the son of two famous singers with the People's Liberation Army, said on Wednesday that the teenager has petitioned the Beijing People's High Court to review his conviction.

Convicted rapist petitions higher court to review case

Zhang Qihuai spoke to the media briefly amid highly charged scenes outside Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday, after the court upheld guilty verdict against Li.

When asked about lodging a new petition to the higher court, he said only: "We will persist with doing the things we are allowed to do by the law."

Li is serving a 10-year sentence after being found guilty, along with four others, of sexually assaulting a woman at a hotel in Beijing on Feb 17 after a night of drinking. The victim has been identified only as a 23-year-old woman named Yang.

The 17-year-old Li, whose parents Li Shuangjiang and Meng Ge are celebrated singers with the PLA, has protested his innocence throughout.

However, after hearing the appeal on Nov 19, during which Li's defense team provided new evidence, the intermediate court judge deemed the conviction just and fair.

In an online statement, the court said Li had claimed during his first trial that he was sleepy after arriving at the hotel room and did not know what happened. During his appeal, however, he said he was talking on the phone with his mother outside the hotel room.

Li Jihong, chief judge, told Xinhua News Agency that the teenager's statements were not consistent and conflicted with the confession of his fellow defendants.

His testimony failed to prove he did not have the time or was not in the right condition to commit the crime, the judge said.

In response to the claim made by the five defendants that Yang was a prostitute, the judge said: "No evidence can show the victim had sex with the five men of her own accord or offered sexual services."

The chief judge also said video evidence put forward by the defense during the appeal bore no direct relationship to the case.

After the appeal ruling was announced, the lawyer for the only adult defendant approached the media area, where dozens of journalists had gathered, holding her lawyer's license to prove her identity.

The lawyer, surnamed Zhou, was quickly surrounded by journalists and cameramen, all jostling for position to hear her reaction to the ruling.

She held up evidence for the cameras, including copies of phone records that she claimed show Li Tianyi called his mother on the night of the attack and distributed them to reporters.

Lawyers involved in the case have been criticized for their behavior, particularly their interaction with the media.

Before the appeal hearing, some lawyers published personal information on some of their clients, while some attacked each other on the Internet.

Zhang Xuebing, president of the Beijing Lawyers Association, said the behavior violates the norms of legal profession.

On Sept 29, the association announced that it would launch an investigation, although Zhang said it had been delayed because of the appeal hearing.

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