The Judicial Yuan's (司法院) Secretary-General Yang Ren-shou (楊仁壽) yesterday said that the verdict in former first lady Tseng Wen-hui's (曾文惠) slander suit was improper.
Yang attended a meeting at the Legislative Yuan (立法院) yesterday.
In response to lawmakers' questions, he said that the verdict should have focused on the suit itself instead of discussing political issues or ethnic problems. However, he said he still respects the judge's decision.
TSU lawmaker Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that there should be only one true verdict for each case. He also said Tuesday's verdict which ruled that both the plaintiff and the defendants were not guilty was ridiculous.
"The verdict written by Taipei Judge Huang Cheng-hui (黃程暉) was more like a lecture instead of a verdict," he said.
The verdict said that "the plaintiff should take into consideration both national security and ethnic harmony in deciding whether to file an appeal ... both the plaintiff and the defendant should bear with each other and not appeal if not necessary ... to file a suit or appeal will not help rebuild the plaintiff's or the defendants' reputations. It will not be any good for society, either."
Lo said that ethnic problems should not be considered in a criminal case and judges should reach a verdict based solely on the law and the evidence.
"Plus, I have never heard any judge tell the plaintiff and the defendant not to appeal by asking them to take into consideration national security and ethnic harmony. I guess a verdict like this could only be written by Taiwanese judges," he added.
Yang said that the verdict did not say that the plaintiff and the defendant were not eligible to appeal. However, he said that it was improper for the judge to mention political issues in the verdict.
"I agree with you that a verdict is a verdict and it should not contain messages which have nothing to do with the case," Yang said to Lo. "If I were the judge, I wouldn't have written these."
In the meantime, PFP legislator Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said that Yang should stay neutral toward a verdict instead of criticizing the decision of a judge.
"I am not criticizing it," Yang responded. "I am answering questions and telling you what I think."
The Taipei District Court (台北地方法院) threw out the charges against Tseng, the former first lady, as well as former New Party lawmakers Elmer Feng (馮滬祥), Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) and Tai Chi (戴錡), a New Party member of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission.
Tseng filed a slander suit against Feng, Hsieh and Tai on July 27, 2000, because they accused her of fleeing Taiwan with suitcases stuffed with US$85 million in cash after the 2000 presidential election.
Feng, Hsieh and Tai then filed a counterclaim of "malicious accusation" against Tseng.
The judge also dropped Tseng's NT$300 million claim for damages.
Tseng decided to appeal to the Taiwan High Court (台灣高等法院) and said that she will do so right away.