Tue, Jun 05, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutor begins one-man protest

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutor Wu Hsun-lung shakes hands with other prosecutors yesterday as he stages a sit-in in front of the Supreme Court in Taipei to protest against its decision on limiting courts’ obligation to investigate evidence. Wu says his vigil in a restricted area is legal because it is neither an assembly nor a parade.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

A district prosecutor yesterday launched a sit-in protest in front of the Supreme Court against a resolution stipulating that prosecutors have to shoulder 100 percent of the burden of proof.

Penghu District Prosecutor Wu Hsun-Lung (吳巡龍), who has a doctorate in law from Stanford Law School, launched his protest in front of the Supreme Court yesterday morning.

Wu said the Supreme Court held a criminal court meeting in January and made a resolution that in court actions, judges will only investigate evidence in favor of defendants and prosecutors have to shoulder 100 percent of the burden of proof in evidence against defendants.

“The Supreme Court’s resolution is not only largely in favor of defendants, it also violates the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法). I’ve never seen such a criminal procedure law anywhere else,” Wu said.

Wu said he had decided to hold a sit-in to express his view that the Supreme Court’s resolution violated the Constitution.

To avoid violating the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法), some prosecutors did not join Wu’s sit-in, but one by one handed him flowers to show their support. Two major prosecutors’ associations are also supporting his protest.

Prosecutors’ Association president Shih Ching-tang (施慶堂) tried to give a letter of protest signed by 1,078 prosecutors, 27 law professors and 23 crime victims to Supreme Court Chief Judge Yang Ting-chang (楊鼎章), but Yang refused to see Shih or take the letter. Shih said the Supreme Court was arrogant and ignored prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Prosecutors’ Reform Association president Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) said: “The protest is just the beginning. Prosecutors will be holding hearings on this issue.”

In a statement in the afternoon, the Supreme Court said it regretted the prosecutors’ actions.

The court accused Wu and other prosecutors of teaching people how to avoid violating the Assembly and Parade Act by holding a one-person protest.

The Supreme Court said that the resolution was passed to consolidate the principle of presumption of innocence and that prosecutors, who shoulder the burden of proof, have equal status with defendants and judges remain neutral in courts.

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