Sat, Nov 06, 2004 - Page 3 News List

PFP lawmaker slams alliance's legal team

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Criticism of the pan-blue camp's legal team emerged from within yesterday amid other controversy sparked by the camp's election lawsuit loss on Thursday.

Saying that the People First Party (PFP) and Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) legal team was not sharp enough in its strategy, PFP Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) yesterday said that the lawyers should have made the alliance's pending lawsuit against the legitimacy of the election the focus of its agenda.

The pan-blue alliance filed two lawsuits over President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election. The first lawsuit challenged Chen's confirmation as president for a second term based on allegations that the government had manipulated election results through ballot mis-counting as well as the election eve shooting of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

The second lawsuit challenged the timing of the election.

The pan-blue camp lost the first lawsuit on Thursday, while the second lawsuit is still pending. The pan-blue camp has sworn to appeal the first lawsuit.

"If we had made the lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of election's timing our focus, then our chances of winning would have been higher, because we have more evidence for that lawsuit," Chiu said.

Evidence such as irregularities in voter registration lists, Chiu said, would have been more effective if used in the second lawsuit, whereas the first lawsuit would have benefited from more time for investigation.

In response, the spokesperson for the pan-blues' legal team, Lai Shu-ju (賴素如), who is also director of the KMT's Cultural and Communications Affairs, said the lawyers should not be faulted for losing the lawsuit.

"A lawyer is meant to fulfill his or her duty in the courts without the burden of political manipulation or strategy," Lai said.

The alliance's lawyers actually worked harder than those of the government, Lai said, because the burden of proof was on the pan-blue camp.

"We would not have taken on or presented the cases as we did," Lai said, if the pan-blue camp had not been optimistic about the lawsuits' success.

Speaking at the KMT's headquarters yesterday, Lai also questioned the government's release of forensic expert Henry Lee's report on the election-eve shooting.

Why was the report made public yesterday only after it was used in the lawsuit, Lai asked.

"This was a civil suit, not a criminal lawsuit. When do you have evidence that is not made public in a civil suit?" Lai said.

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