Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Evidence alone will decide the outcome of probe: Eric Chen

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Evidence, not public opinion, decides the fate of judicial cases, the prosecutor in charge of investigations into alleged irregularities in the use of the president's special state affairs fund said yesterday.

Prosecutor Eric Chen (陳瑞仁) was responding to remarks by former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), the leader of the "Million Voices Against Corruption" campaign to force President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to resign over graft accusations.

Shih said earlier this week that if the prosecution concludes its investigation into the state affairs fund case without charging any first family members, he will lead protesters to "besiege the prosecution authorities."

Noting that evidence is the most important thing in judicial proceedings, Eric Chen said no street demonstration or social movement would affect the pace of his investigations and his judgment would be based on the arguments of all those involved and all the evidence collected.

At the conclusion of the probe, Eric Chen said he would make known the truth of the case. Anyone found guilty of irregularities, regardless of his or her position and status, will be dealt with in accordance with the law. If nobody is found guilty, Eric Chen said, no charges will be leveled and the case will be closed.

Stressing that judicial probes are intrinsically different from political matters, he said that he is worried about the possibility of failing to collect sufficient evidence, not pressure from the president's opponents or the "anti-corruption" protesters.

So far, Eric Chen said he has found evidence that is both favorable and unfavorable to the accused.

"As the investigations are still ongoing, I have yet to reach any definitive conclusion," he said.

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