Fri, Nov 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Supreme Court upholds acquittal of Diane Lee

FINAL VERDICT:DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei criticized the court’s decision and said that it brought into question the credibility of Taiwan’s entire justice system

By Hsiang Cheng-chenand Lee Yu-hsin  /  Staff Reporters

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the High Court’s ruling that acquitted former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) of fraud over a dual--nationality controversy. The ruling is final.

In September 2009, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Lee on charges of fraud, accusing her of intentionally concealing her US citizenship during her term as a Taipei City councilor and three terms as a legislator.

In the first trial, the Taipei District Court sentenced Lee to two years in prison. In the second trial, the Taiwan High Court acquitted her on Aug. 23.

It was the High Court’s view that while the approval of Lee’s eligibility for the post had been an administrative error, her tenure as city councilor and legislator was not interrupted and payment she received was not fraudulent.

The Supreme Court said the prosecution’s charge of fraud and forgery were items that were given closure in the second trial, and under the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法) such a case may not be appealed for a third trial.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said the ruling was -unjust, saying Lee deceived the public for years and had violated the law.

“The Taiwanese people had placed their hopes in the Supreme Court’s ruling to give justice to the people, but we see the judiciary system of modern Taiwan does not serve justice anymore,” Chen said.

“If what is obviously illegal can result in a ruling of ‘not guilty,’ what kind of credibility does the judiciary system of Taiwan have?” DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said. “It goes to show that the courts are all owned by the KMT.”

Officials from the Legislative Yuan said they would respect the ruling, adding that as the Legislative Yuan never made the decision to retrieve the salary paid to Lee, there was no problem with the money she received.

Additional reporting by Chiu Yan-ling

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer

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