Concerns were raised yesterday about the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office’s indictment of Control Yuan investigator Lin Chun-sen (林淳森) on Monday for allegedly leaking information about a report to a journalist before the case cleared the Control Yuan.
Lin was charged with offense against privacy because prosecutors believe he provided United Daily News reporter Lee Shun-te (李順德) with a Control Yuan report that found gross negligence in the way police and prosecutors handled a sexual abuse case involving a five-year-old girl.
The prosecutors said Lin had violated the Control Yuan Act (監察法), under which investigative officers are prohibited from disclosing the findings of an investigation before the case clears the Control Yuan’s committees.
Lee said yesterday that the indictment was an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and that the Control Yuan was trying to punish Lin as a warning to others. He questioned the prosecutors’ indictment because he said he told prosecutors that he knew four people on their list of suspects.
Prosecutors said Lin was the only suspect whom Lee said he knew, and that Lin was the only suspect who said he knew Lee.
Association of Taiwan Journalists chairwoman Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜) said prosecution of Lin would have an adverse effect on press freedom because it would discourage public servants from contacting reporters and thus restrict the number of sources reporters can use for information.
Kao Jung-chih (高榮志), a lawyer and director of the office of the Judicial Reform Foundation, said that the indictment appeared to be based on insufficient evidence if a failed polygraph test was the main evidence against Lin.
The charge against Lin revolves around a story by Lee published on May 11, 2010, that said Control Yuan member Gau Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) was to present the findings of her investigation into a 1996 sexual abuse case in Taichung at a meeting of the Control Yuan’s Committee on Judicial and Prison Administration the next day. The case involved the girl who was found impaled with a bamboo spear. The girl died 14 years later.
The newspaper published Gau’s report, including that Liu Chia-fang (劉家芳), the prosecutor in charge of the Taichung case, had admitted that he did not go to the crime scene because the weather was cold and he had been told by police that evidence had been collected.
A month later, the Control Yuan endorsed the report and censured the ministries of justice and the interior and related agencies for failing to supervise prosecutors and police, whose handling of the Taichung case had resulted in a man’s wrongful conviction and 14-year imprisonment.
Prosecutors decided that Lin had provided Lee with Gau’s report after ruling out other suspects. They also said Lin had failed a lie detector test.