Judge raises eyebrows for Wang, KMT case comments
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A High Court judge handling a controversial lawsuit stemming from a rift between Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has raised some eyebrows for speaking about the case publicly.
September 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Wei Li-chuen, who heads a panel of three judges presiding over the lawsuit between Wang and the KMT, spoke about the case in a five-minute telephone interview with a local TV station.
She explained why she had previously suggested during a sitting that the two parties try to reach an out-of-court settlement.
She told the TV interviewer that she could not bear to see Taiwan plagued by political disputes.
She dismissed concerns that her judgment would be biased because of her status as a KMT supporter.
She did not, however, talk about the details of the case. The high court panel of judges will decide whether Wang's injunction on the KMT's decision to expel him from the party will stand.
It was said that she was actually at the TV studio ready to do a live on-screen interview when she decided at the last minute to do it by telephone.
A Taipei District Court judge was cited yesterday by the United Daily News as saying that it was improper for Wei to speak about the lawsuit in public. She should only speak to the parties involved about her opinions in court.
But another High Court judge said it is not the first time that a judge has commented on a lawsuit in public, according to the United Daily.
The High Court judge said that a judge handling former President Chen Shui-bian's corruption case also spoke publicly about the lawsuit, and it is an acceptable move as long as the judge does not talk about the details of the case.
Another judge said there is nothing wrong if a judge's public comments do not affect the judgment or the legal procedure.
The KMT earlier this month decided to expel Wang over alleged influence peddling. Wang then secured a district court injunction against the expulsion, but the KMT has sought to counter this move by appealing against it to the high court. The high court is expected to return a verdict later this week.
Losing the party membership will cost Wang's at-large legislative seat assigned to him by the KMT, as well as his speakership.