Tue, Sep 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Grand justices talk about dodging political pressure

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Outgoing Council of Grand Justices member Wu Geng (吳庚) said yesterday it was impossible for justice to remain separate from politics but that he was glad he and his colleagues had done their best to resist political pressure during the past nine years.

"We suffered political pressure from time to time whenever we were doing our job -- deciding whether a specific case was against the Constitution or should be protected by it," Wu said. "However, I am glad and proud to say that none of us grand justices gave in or was affected by the pressure."

Wu made his remarks during a farewell party held by the Judicial Yuan yesterday morning for the 15 grand justices, some of whom are stepping down from their posts.

He used the council's Interpretation Number 251 to the Constitution as an example of the government applying "irresistible" pressure to the grand justices.

The article was handed down on Jan. 19, 1990, ruling unconstitutional the law governing offenses punished by the police.

The law authorized the police to arrest, detain and punish suspects without any supervision, approval or authorization from the court.

According to Wu, high-ranking officials took advantage of their administrative power to try to persuade grand justices into avoiding ruling on the law.

"We have to make progress. We have to move on. Taiwanese people deserve this," Wu said.

As for his plans now, Wu said he would return to National Taiwan University to continue his career as a law professor. He has been a grand justice since 1985.

Tung Hsiang-fei (董翔飛), a grand justice since 1985 who is stepping down, said that the grand justices had done their best during their term.

"I am proud to say that I have accomplished my mission. I did not disgrace my superior and my people," he said.

The legislature on Sept. 16 approved the 15 council nominees, including Judicial Yuan President Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生) and his deputy, Cheng Chung-mo (城仲模), who will take office tomorrow.

Other returning members include Weng, Cheng, Lai In-jaw (賴英照), Hsieh Tsay-chuan (謝在全), Wang Ho-hsiung (王和雄) and Lin Yung-mou (林永謀).

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