Sat, Jul 31, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Court tries to stop judge from resigning

STATEMENTJudge Chen Heng-kuan has tendered his resignation. He said that he thinks High Court judges have too much power and hopes his resignation may change things

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

The Taiwan High Court yesterday said it was trying to dissuade a judge from resigning after criticism of a recent ruling that saw the sentence of former Presidential Office deputy ­secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) reduced from nine years in prison to seven months.

In a statement yesterday, which High Court judge Chen Heng-kuan (陳恆寬) released through the High Court, Judge Chen — one of three court members in Chen Che-nan’s case — said that as a court official, he should be responsible for the controversial verdict. He added he had tendered his resignation.

Chen Heng-kuan said in the statement that the most important foundation of the judiciary was the public’s trust.

He added that the latest ruling in Chen Che-nan’s case, in addition to the recent furor in which it is alleged that three Taiwan High Court judges took bribes in return for acquitting a former lawmaker of corruption charges, had all further impairing the public’s confidence in the nation’s judiciary.

On Tuesday, the High Court cited evidence that Chen Che-nan accepted NT$6 million (US$197,200) from businessman Liang Po-hsun (梁柏薰) in 2002 and promised in return to use his influence to settle two court cases involving Liang.

In both Chen Che-nan’s first and second trials, handled by the Taipei District Court and the Taiwan High Court, he was found guilty and given hefty sentences.

However, after Chen Che-nan won an appeal which led to the third trial on Tuesday, the ­ruling said because his post at the ­Presidential Office did not involve ­conducting judicial investigations, the money he took was unrelated to his work and hence he had committed fraud, not corruption.

Local media reported that in the Chen Che-nan case, presiding judge Tseng ter-shui (曾德水) was of the opinion that Chen-Che-nan committed fraud ­— a less serious crime compared with a corruption charge — and wanted to give him a lighter sentence, while Chen Heng-kuan and judge Tsui Ling-chi (崔玲琦) harbored a ­different opinion, with Chen Heng-kuan ­insisting that he believed Chen Che-nan was guilty of corruption and hence should be given a heavy sentence.

The High Court yesterday said Tsui had applied to leave Tseng’s court as a sign of protest at the ruling.

Meanwhile, Chen Heng-kuan, alleging that High Court judges enjoy too much power, said he hoped his resignation could lead to some reform in the High Court.

When asked for comment, Tseng yesterday said: “The ruling [of the Chen Che-nan case] was just.”

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