Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Supreme Court upholds Soong defamation suit

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Supreme Court upheld yesterday the Taiwan High Court's ruling that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) should apologize to People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and compensate him for defamation.

The Supreme Court ruled Lee should run apologies in three newspapers for a day and pay Soong NT$2 million (US$60,600).

The ruling states Lee insinuated in a speech that Soong was playing mahjong with friends on April 10, 2004, while his followers fought police after President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) re-election.

Soong filed suit and the Taipei District Court ruled in November 2005 that Lee should compensate Soong NT$10 million and run apologies in nine newspapers.

The Taiwan High Court ruled in August last year that as a former leader, Lee should know that his remarks carry weight.

But Lee's insinuation that Soong abandoned supporters led the public to see Soong as irresponsible, which caused him "great emotional distress," the high court ruled.

As compensation in previous defamation suits had not exceeded NT$3 million, the Supreme Court slashed the amount from NT$10 million to NT$2 million.

The court ruled that running the ads for three days in nine local newspapers at a cost of NT$13 million was excessive, and should be cut to one day.

PFP Legislator Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國) said the verdict showed what kind of "political animal Lee is," and that Lee represents the worst of Taiwanese democracy.

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