Thu, Jan 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Ma urges courts to keep verbatim interview files

By Ko Shu-ling

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday hoped to see verbatim records of interviews with suspects and court hearings.

Ma said the quality of trials would be upgraded if the local judiciary adopted the same practice as in the West, where interviews of suspects and court hearings are recorded word for word, he said.

Ma said while public attention on recent major legal cases focused on such issues as whether the suspect should be handcuffed or whether detention centers offer hot showers, more attention should be paid to whether questioning sessions were faithfully documented.

Ma made the remarks while addressing the meeting of the Arbitration Association of the Republic of China in Taipei yesterday morning.

Ma cited the example of his own legal case, which saw him acquitted of graft. Ma filed a lawsuit against Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁), a prosecutor on the Special Investigation Panel of the Supreme Prosecutors Office, accusing him of forgery and abuse of power.

The Taipei District Court yesterday ruled against Ma. Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday said Ma would not decide whether to appeal until the office receives the official notice.

Wang said the litigation was filed to protect the rights of all suspects. Their rights would be seriously violated if their interviews with the prosecutors were not precisely recorded.

At the same setting, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) called on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to swiftly engage in negotiations on an arbitration mechanism to settle business disputes across the Taiwan Strait.

Lai said the government’s cross-strait policy is to proceed gradually and tackle the easier and urgent issues first, before moving toward more difficult and less pressing ones. Economic issues precede political ones, she said, adding that the cross-strait liberalization policy would continue under the premise that Taiwan’s overall interest would be protected and sustainable development ensured.

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