Sat, Mar 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

‘Not guilty’ verdict upheld in dental law lobbying case

PASSING ACT:Allegations against eight lawmakers over bribes to pass the Oral Health Act in 2003 have been tied up in court since the first case in 2010

Staff writer, with CNA

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by prosecutors and upheld a “not guilty” verdict for six former legislators across party lines charged with bribery in a case involving the Taiwan Dental Association’s lobbying of legislators to pass a law in 2003.

The Supreme Court upheld the verdict by the Taiwan High Court in the first retrial, which found the six former legislators — including Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) and Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) of the Democratic progressive Party (DPP); the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Chang Tsai-mei (張蔡美); and the People First Party’s Yang Fu-mei (楊富美) — as well as Tsai’s brother Tsai Chao-cheng (蔡朝正) not guilty of accepting bribes from the association in 2003.

However, the Supreme Court ordered a second retrial for former DPP Legislators Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲) and Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠), who were sentenced to seven years and six months and seven years and two months in prison respectively in their first retrial.

The eight lawmakers and Tsai Chao-cheng were accused of taking bribes from the association to help push through the Oral Health Act (口腔健康法), which was passed in April 2003.

Tsai Huang-liang was accused of taking a NT$3.5 million (US$105,736 at the current exchange rate) bribe from the association through his brother, while the seven other legislators were accused of taking bribes of NT$1 million or NT$500,000 each.

The district court found all defendants not guilty in the first instance in 2010, but the High Court in 2011 found all nine of the defendants guilty and sentenced them to between seven years and two months and eight years behind bars.

The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, which ordered a retrial.

According to last year’s March retrial verdict, prosecutors failed to prove that Tsai Chao-cheng had taken bribes on behalf of his brother and they failed to prove that Tsai Huang-liang knew about the bribes and that there was a quid pro quo relationship in which Tsai Huang-liang altered his behavior as a legislator in exchange for the payment.

Prosecutors also failed to prove a quid pro quo relationship involving five other legislators, according to the retrial verdict.

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