County Councilor Dismissed After Third Drink Driving Offence

A Changhua County councilor was sentenced to a 7 month term in prison after being convicted of his third drink driving offence in 4 years, and has won the distinction of being the first person in Taiwan to be dismissed from public office for the offence.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) representative Ke, Jhen-Bei (柯振杯), 57, was convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.82mg/l in March 2013, 0.56mg/l in December 2016, and 0.43mg/l in May this year. All three drink driving charges involved car accidents, one of which resulted in two people being injured.

The short jail sentences handed down with the first two convictions were commuted into a fine. However, when the Changhua District Court heard the case for his third offence in August, the judge ruled that he was no longer allowed to commute his sentence to a fine, nor to a community service work order.

The councilor was sentenced to a 7 month term in prison and a fine of NT$60,000. According to the law, a county or city councilor sentenced to a fixed term in prison will be dismissed from office by the Ministry of the Interior.

Ke appealed the decision, seeking to reduce his punishment and maintain his position in office. The Taichung High Court rejected his appeal Thursday, and upheld the original verdict.

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