Majority supports citizen participation in trials, wary of trial by jury: gov't poll
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nearly 80 percent of people support citizens' participation in trials as a way to reform Taiwan's judiciary system, while roughly the same number of people expressed concern over a trial-by-jury system, according to Judicial Yuan-commissioned polls released yesterday.
January 21, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The polls were released as several bills on judicial reform are pending in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan. One of the bills was proposed by the Judicial Yuan, which calls for trial participation by citizens over 23 years of age with diplomas from high schools and above.
The Democratic Progressive Party proposed its own bills, one of which, authored by lawmaker Tien Chiu-chin, calls for an outright change of Taiwan's legal system from trial by judge as currently practiced to trial by jury.
According to a TVBS poll commissioned by the Judicial Yuan in October, 79.3 percent of respondents expressed their concerns over a jury system, in which a defendant's verdict is determined by randomly selected jurors.
The survey polled 1,075 people over 20 years of age and had a plus or minus 3 percent margin of error.
According to a Gallup poll commissioned by the Judicial Yuan in November, 79.2 percent support citizens' participation in trials.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, urged judicial authorities to help increase people's understanding of the different types of legal proceedings in practice first.
“I have strong doubts over whether people have enough knowledge to differentiate between trial by jury and citizens participation,” said Kuomintang lawmaker Liao Cheng-ching. “The Judicial Yuan should hold more public hearings to gather input and help increase people's knowledge first.”