Wiretapping mistakes not isolated: MOJ
By Lauly Li ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Justice Minister Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday said during a radio interview that not only had the Special Investigation Division (SID) made a mistake in its wiretapping operation, but other district prosecutors offices had also made similar errors in the past.
October 15, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Lo said the recent wiretapping incident reveals that most prosecutors “lack common sense” regarding the issue of tapping phone lines. She further noted that the Taichung District Prosecutors Office had realized that 10-digit numbers starting with “0972” usually indicate a switchboard, and yet it failed to disseminate this information.
Lo said that the Communication Protection and Surveillance Act does not prohibit the monitoring of switchboards, and only indicates that as long as investigators obtain the appropriate warrant, switchboards can be legally surveilled.
Lo added that if the relevant authorities need to monitor the Legislative Yuan's switchboard, then they must prove that there are numerous people in the Legislature involved in a single criminal case.
A task force under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) last week announced the results of its investigation into the controversial Legislature wiretapping case. The task force concluded that the SID's bugging operation was an administrative mistake, noting that the SID did not purposefully monitor the Legislature.
The MOJ said that Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) and SID spokesman Yang Jung-tsung (楊榮宗) did not fulfill their obligations in supervising the wiretapping operation conducted by prosecutor Cheng Shen-yuan (鄭深元).
The task force suggested sending the aforementioned three people to a disciplinary committee.
Lo said that the task force's probing report might not be perfect. She further explained that there was one phone record indicating that the SID dialed the 10-digit number of the Legislative Yuan switchboard and connected for one second.
Lo said the investigative team questioned relevant persons regarding the phone records but nothing was discovered. She also noted that given the report's imperfections, the MOJ has ruled out the possibility of the SID intentionally monitoring the Legislative Yuan.
When asked by the radio show host if she thinks that the judge who approved the operation needs to hold himself accountable over the controversy, Lo said that she had no comment.
Lo said that there are compulsory procedures for prosecutors to adhere to when executing a monitoring warrant, and the presiding judge is obliged to determine if prosecutors' reasons are sufficient to obtain a warrant.
On Sept. 28, it was revealed that the SID monitored the Legislature switchboard for a month. The SID claimed that the bugging was a mistake and that the prosecutors mistakenly thought that the 10-digit number belonged to an assistant of Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).