Thu, Mar 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

High Court upholds conviction of ex-judge

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Kaohsiung Branch of the Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld the conviction of former judge Lin Kun-cheng (林崑城) on corruption charges linked to the solicitation of about NT$20 million (US$683,667 at the current exchange rate) in bribes from more than a dozen people.

After graduating from the Ministry of Justice’s Academy for the Judiciary, Lin worked as a prosecutor, rising steadily through the ranks to become a judge at the district level before being promoted to the High Court, where he served terms as presiding judge.

After more than two decades of working for the judiciary, he entered private practice, taking on litigation cases.

However, an investigation found that he solicited bribes from plaintiffs or defendants, promising to deliver a favorable judgment due to his extensive contacts and good relationships with judges and other court officials.

The investigation found that he took money from 13 individuals between 2009 and 2012, ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$2.5 million, and deposited the money in his personal bank accounts.

If a judgement went against one of the people who had paid him a bribe to influence a judge, Lin blamed it on problems with the court, but if his client won their case, then Lin would ask for more money for helping ensure a favorable decision, investigators found.

In the first ruling in his case by a district court last year, he was convicted on 18 counts of financial fraud and related charges, and was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

Lin appealed the verdict.

Yesterday’s ruling was final, and cannot be appealed, as the High Court upheld the conviction and the sentence from the first ruling.

“After becoming a lawyer in 1996, Lin reaped undue personal financial benefits through illegal means, acting as a middleman to pass on bribe money to judicial officials,” the High Court said in its ruling.

“Lin used his position as a litigator to take advantage of the desire by both plaintiffs and defendants to win their lawsuits. Lin claimed that he had good relationships and personal contacts within the justice system and could deliver bribes to the presiding judges,” the court said in its statement.

“Lin’s actions violated judicial regulations and the code of conduct for lawyers. He also tarnished the reputation of court judges, undermined public trust and brought discredit to the nation’s judicial system,” it said.

Lin, now 68, was originally indicted on corruption charges in 2012, but he fled to China and did not return to Taiwan until 2016, at which point his case proceeded to court.

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