The Taiwan High Court yesterday did not hand down a ruling on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) injunction against the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) revocation of his party membership, as lawyers representing both sides continued to hold heated debates.
The court could make a ruling as early as today on the status of Wang’s membership, which was revoked by the KMT on Sept. 11 over his alleged involvement in improper lobbying.
If the court upholds the previous ruling on the case made by the Taipei District Court on Sept. 13, which allowed Wang to retain his membership, he would provisionally be able to keep his positions as a KMT legislator-at-large and as legislative speaker pending an appeal if the KMT elects to contest the ruling with the Supreme Court.
At yesterday’s three-hour hearing, eight lawyers representing Wang and three acting on behalf of the KMT made their cases to Presiding Judge Wei Li-chuan (魏麗娟).
Hsu Ying-chieh (許英傑), one of Wang’s lawyers, said that the transcripts from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division’s (SID) wiretap — cited by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT as proof that Wang participated in lobbying to take legal pressure off Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) — should have been invalidated because the wiretap itself was illegal and an abuse of the division’s investigative rights.
The KMT’s lawyer Chen Ming (陳明) had previously said that the Taipei District Court “has no jurisdiction” over the case because a person being disciplined by their party is “a matter within the scope of the party’s autonomy,” adding that his interpretation was supported by a verdict rendered by the Japanese Supreme Court in a similar case involving a party member’s status in Japan 30 years ago.
However, Hsu told reporters after yesterday’s hearing that the KMT lawyers were misinterpreting the case in Japan as a court had eventually decided the case, which lent support to Wang’s lawyers’ stance that the KMT’s right to autonomy as a party should not be unlimited.
In addition, the party has not specified how Wang has damaged its reputation and the KMT’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee is designated by its chairman, Ma, not via a democratic process, raising questions about its independence, Hsu said.
The party’s lawyers submitted five documents stating six disputed points and 30 arguments about the initial ruling and the KMT’s handling of the case to the High Court before yesterday’s hearing, but did not come up with any fresh arguments.
The judge asked the KMT during yesterday’s hearing to submit additional documents to specify how Wang had damaged the party’s image.
The party appealed the case with the Taiwan High Court after the Taipei District Court ruled that Wang could keep his rights as a KMT member until a final ruling is made, on the condition that he pay a guarantee of NT$9.38 million (US$315,000) to the party.
According to the law, if the KMT wins the appeal, the case will be sent back to the district court for reconsideration, but if the appeal fails, the party may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
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