Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - Page 8 News List


The rusty judiciary

A few days ago, I was outraged by a report on a news channel. Not surprisingly, I was not the only person who was infuriated by the report.

The uproar was provoked by a report that a Japanese exchange student was allegedly raped by a taxi driver in New Taipei City (新北市). After a police investigation, the driver was found and indicted by the prosecutor.

The prosecutor thought the taxi driver had behaved like a felon and wanted permission for further detention from the Banciao District Court. However, the judge ruled that the alleged rapist be released on NT$50,000 bail (“Bail of alleged rapist draws complaint,” July 15, page 2).

After the taxi driver’s release, the public, netizens and the Japanese student’s boyfriend all voiced discontent, netizens even sarcastically calling the judge “one of the ‘dinosaur judges’ in our rusty judiciary.”

The taxi driver alleged that the case was not a sexual assault, but a one-night stand, saying he did not force the girl to have intercourse with him, and that maybe it all resulted from the language barrier.

Since there was no accomplice and because the culprit did not give any indication that he might abscond, the judge decided to release him on bail.

The main reason was that the prosecutor’s primary reason to detain him was not sufficient on the basis of Constitutional Interpretation No. 665 — a prosecutor cannot detain a suspect solely on an alleged felony violation.

What made me so furious was not the court’s statement, but that the judge did not appear in public to explain it.

A judge must be responsible to the public for his or her verdict.

Just as our Constitution stipulates that judges pass all judicial verdicts independently, judges should have the courage to face public criticism over their verdicts.

While the judge offered an explanation through his supervisor, to my disappointment, his supervisor gave it in a telephone interview.

Rather than regard this as a positive way to clarify his position, I see this as counterproductive.

The reason for the judge’s rejection of the prosecutor’s demand for detention added fuel to the fire, and made me even more furious.

Even if the prosecutor’s request didn’t meet the standard of Constitutional Interpretation No. 665, judges should still take all factors and evidence into consideration. In my view, the judge didn’t treat this case as if the victim were his daughter. Would the ruling have been the same in that case?

Now, the most powerful media in Taiwan, the Apple Daily, cannot even find this taxi driver. How could the judge believe that the taxi driver wouldn’t abscond? If the paparazzi cannot find the suspect, I wonder who can?

Tell all your female friends, protecting themselves is more practical than expecting a judge to find the suspect.

Wearing the blue robe in court represents justice and fairness. Courage is also required when a verdict causes public uproar. Do you dare face public criticism, my dear judge?



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