The Supreme Court on Thursday denied an appeal by defendants in a bribery case involving several former Taiwan High Court judges, and upheld the previous sentences, ruling that Tsai Kuang-chih (蔡光志) be given a prison sentence of 20 years and fined NT$3.5 million (US$119,130).
In 2010, the nation’s judiciary was shaken when then-High Court judges Tsai, Lee Chun-ti (李春地), Chen Jung-ho (陳榮和) and former Banciao District Prosecutors’ Office prosecutor Chiu Mao-jung (邱茂榮) were alleged to have taken bribes from former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Ho Chi-hui (何智輝) to return a not-guilty verdict in his trial over corruption in the Tongluo Industrial Area development project in Miaoli County.
The case involved a total of NT$8.5 million in alleged bribes and caused former Judicial Yuan president Lai Ing-jaw (賴英照) and former Taiwan High Court chief justice Huang Shui-tong (黃水通) to step down to take responsibility for the scandal.
During the investigation, the prosecutors said Ho was given a 19-year sentence in the first trial, 15 years in the second trial, but in 2010 he allegedly used NT$5.5 million to bribe — through Tsai and Chiu — judges Chen and Lee who presided over the retrial.
The retrial resulted in a not-guilty verdict.
Tsai had also been involved in another bribery case, taking NT$3 million from Chang Ping-lung (張炳龍), then a judge at the Hualien branch of the High Court, and bribing then-presiding High Court judge Fang A-sheng (房阿生).
Fang, who had pleaded guilty and also returned NT$2 million, was given 10 years and six months and fined NT$1 million in his second trial, but he filed for a retrial, which has not reported a verdict yet.
In yesterday’s ruling, all nine defendants in the case received sentences. They were: Tsai, Tsai’s mistress Huang Lai Jui-chen (黃賴瑞珍), Lee, Chen, Chiu, Chang, the two defense lawyers in Ho’s retrial — Chang Chuan (張權) and Chiu Chuang-shun (邱創舜) — and Chiu Chuang-shun’s wife, Tuan Mei-yueh (段美月).
Tsai was given a 20-year prison sentence, Lee 11-and-a-half years, Chen 18 years and Chiu six years, the court said, adding that Huang was given four years, Tuan was given one-year-and-three-months and Chang was given a one-year sentence.
Chang Chuan and Chiu Chuang-shun were given two years and one-year-and-six-months respectively for providing false evidence, and may have their licenses revoked, the court said.
The four judges were suspended and had their eligibility revoked, the court said.
Additional reporting by Lin Chun-hung, Yao Yueh-hung and Chiu Chun-fu