Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Hearings to be held on new legislation

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Judicial Yuan is to hold public hearings around the country this month to solicit opinions from academics, judges and prosecutors on new legislation it plans to propose to speed up the litigation process and avoid decade-long trials.

The legislation targets cases that have been in litigation for long periods of time, particularly those that involve defendants who were indicted 15 years ago or more and rulings that have been overturned by a higher court and sent back to a lower court for retrial more than three times.

If passed, the legislation could prevent cases such as the murder of Lu Cheng (陸正) that has been ongoing for 22 years without a sentence being passed and the Su Chien-ho (蘇建和) case, which has lasted for more than 18 years.

The Judicial Yuan said such cases undermine public confidence in the judicial system and infringe upon the defendants’ right to a speedy trial.

The Judicial Yuan said the draft would be completed soon and includes key issues such as making cases that have been going on for a long time a higher priority than other cases, giving judges the power to forcibly end a case and reject prosecutors’ indictments, as well as putting strict limits on the conditions under which a higher court may send a case back to a lower court for retrial.

Six public hearings on the proposed legislation are to be held between Aug. 17 and Aug. 28 in northern, central, eastern and southern areas of the country. Academics, prosecutors and judges are to be invited to offer their opinions on the proposed legislation so that the Judicial Yuan can take them into consideration when drafting the final version of the legislation.

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