Thu, Oct 19, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pan-greens urge respect for judicial system

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislators yesterday called for the public to respect the independence of the judicary and prosecutors.

DPP Legislator Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said people in a democracy usually would not comment on or criticize a case when it is being investigated or brought to trial.

"We, however, have seen some people mention specific names and criticize cases in progress and even point out what direction the investigation should go," Chang said at a press conference.

TSU Legislator Kuo Lin-yung (郭林勇) said that the judicial system has been better able to serve justice since the DPP came in power and that upholding an independent judiciary has become a common belief among judges.

Kuo, however, said pressure from the media, the legislature, civic groups and others has insidiously threatened an independent judiciary.

Kuo said lawmakers should focus on reviewing government budgets, questioning public officials and drawing up bills instead of exploiting legislative interrogation to address certain cases.

DPP Legislator You Ching (尤清) said that some lawmakers abuse their privilege of free speech by making allegations without giving any evidence, which may further confuse the public about an investigation or a trial.

"We decided to start with ourselves. As legislators, we hope we can work together to curb interference with the judiciary in legislative meetings," You said, adding that the media should also uphold its "Fourth Estate rights" when covering investigations or trials.

Although Chang and his colleagues said they did not call yesterday's press conference to address "any specific case," it came just two days after a Judiciary Committee meeting in which Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) was questioned by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators over the Taiwan Development Corp insider trading case and Sogo case.

KMT Legislator Kao Su-po (高思博), the committee's chairman, dismissed DPP legislators' concerns during Monday's meeting that questioning Shih amounted to trying to influence the judicial system.

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