Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Emotions run high at Wu's trial

By ChiuHei-yuan 瞿海源

At a court hearing, rationality must be applied to the analysis of evidence and parties should refrain from irrational arguments.

The confusion surrounding the special "state affairs" fund is finally being reviewed in a court of law.

This case, however, has deep political implications.

Furthermore, it is legally complex and it is therefore difficult to see how a verdict will be reached smoothly.

First lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) arrived at her first court hearing on time but had to be taken to the hospital during the proceedings, further complicating them.

Regardless, we are eagerly looking forward to a fair and just court review that will resolve any crisis and clarify all the confusing issues.

As this case is getting a lot of attention domestically and abroad, and because such a case has never been heard before, all three parties -- prosecutors, defense lawyers and the presiding judge -- seemed quite tense on the first day.

The court hearing saw intense exchanges between the parties.

Based on media reports, it seems the parties involved will all have to put an effort into cooling down and staying rational.

The lawyers for the four accused repeatedly said that the accusations were unconstitutional and violated legal procedures. They argued fiercely with both prosecutors and the judge.

One lawyer demanded that the judge remain just and fair and not be influenced by accusations made or reported by the media.

The judge reportedly retorted by asking whether the lawyer wanted him to take an oath or sign a written guarantee.

Emotions seemed to run high, and the judge surely felt insulted.

The lawyers also claimed that much evidence had not been reviewed. They requested that the judge temporarily suspend proceedings, but to no avail.

After the prosecutor finished reading the accusations, the presiding judge asked the accused if they were guilty, but their lawyers felt that the judge should not ask them about their guilt prior to questioning.

The prosecutor even wanted the lawyers to close their eyes and think about their ideals when they first started studying law.

The opening drama illustrated how the complications and emotions in this case far exceeded expectations.

The first issue at hand was whether the court hearing would be able to continue.

From a jurisprudential perspective, the president has immunity against criminal charges, but he has been implicated in the allegations in this trial.

The question is whether the trial against Wu violates the president's immunity.

The prosecutor and the judge must of course respond to the defense lawyers' claim that the review must be suspended since the proceedings are in violation of the Constitution.

The fact that the presiding judge and the prosecutor take the same stand on this issue also seems to be another source of conflict.

The presiding judge in particular must consider whether there will be any doubt about the verdict being constitutional.

Second, when it was decided that Wu would be prosecuted, the allegations regarding Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) use of his special allowance fund had not yet emerged.

Before the hearings began, however, it was discovered that false receipts and other irregularities had occurred in the reporting of Ma's fund expenditures.

The situation at the beginning of this review was very different from the situation at the time when the lawsuit was filed.

This story has been viewed 2996 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top