Presidential Office rejects judicial tamper claims
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo , The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Presidential Office yesterday rejected claims that President Ma Ying-jeou had crossed “a judicial red line” by instructing the Justice Ministry to reprimand a prosecutor who had indicted him on graft charges.
October 2, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), ex-deputy justice minister under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, yesterday held a press conference with DPP lawmakers Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) and Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) at the Legislative Yuan, claiming that Ma had politically “assassinated” ex-prosecutor Hou Kuan-ren (侯寬仁) through legal expert Chen Charng-ven (陳長文), ex-Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘).
In 2007, Ma was indicted by Hou on embezzlement charges but was found not guilty by the district court. The prosecutor filed an appeal but Ma was again found not guilty by the High Court. Hou filed a second appeal but the Supreme Court ultimately cleared Ma of the charges.
Lee claimed that despite being cleared of the charges, Ma went after Hou through Chen, Wang and Huang.
According to Lee, Chen submitted an article to local media in 2010, speaking about Hou's mishandling of the “Tai Ji Men case” (太極門案), a lawsuit that had been dragged out for over a decade, during which innocent individuals were detained on fraud and tax evasion charges.
Ma had a cutout of the article sent to Wang along with a note, urging the then-minister to read the article and make a statement, Lee added.
Lee said that Huang was promoted to prosecutor-general on the same day, and that Wang sent a document to the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office less than two weeks later, indicating that Hou had distorted evidence, after which the prosecutor was reprimanded.
“Did (Ma) or did (Ma) not step on a judicial red line?” Lee asked.
Presidential Office Response
In response, Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li (李佳霏) said that by advising a minister to take expert opinion into consideration, the president was hoping that the minister could communicate more with the media and the public to clear their doubts.
Equating that with judicial interference is fallacious, the spokeswoman said.
Chen's article focused on miscarriage of justice and compensation, and although the Tai Ji Men case was mentioned, Chen made it clear in his piece that the case was not ongoing and had been closed, the spokeswoman said.
Whenever the president comes across commentaries that bring up important issues, he usually advises ministers to read them and clear doubts that the public may have on related topics, the spokeswoman added.
By sending a cutout of Chen's article along with a note, Ma was hoping that Wang would communicate more with the public on the topics that the article brought up, and that the then-minister would publicly defend his own policies, the spokeswoman said.