Members of the Taiwan Jury Association, along with members of judicial reform advocacy groups, yesterday gathered in front of the Judicial Yuan building, urging the public to join a march on May 5 to demand the implementation of the jury system in Taiwan.
The National Congress on Judicial Reform between November 2016 and August last year gathered experts to discuss whether a jury system or lay assessor system would be more suitable as a civic participation system for Taiwan, but they did not reach a consensus.
The government later decided to establish a citizen judge system and proposed a draft act in November last year.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
An alliance promoting the jury system, led by the association and including the Judicial Reform Foundation, the Taiwan Judicial Reform Care Association and the Anti-Judicial Abuse Action Alliance, urged the government to implement a jury system and to believe in the public’s collective wisdom.
Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching (張靜), an attorney and former National Conference on Judicial Reform committee member, said the votes in favor of a jury system and a lay assessor system were tied in the conference, so the association is opposed to the government’s insistence on adopting a citizen judge system in disregard of other opinions.
“The jury system is the mainstream judicial trial system and 52 nations have embraced it,” association founder and an attorney Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) said. “We should use people’s wisdom to conduct fair trials.”
Calling the Judicial Yuan the “private law yuan,” Cheng said the Judicial Yuan serves the exclusive rights of court judges and not those of the public.
The citizen judge system is “fake judicial reform,” because it requires three court judges and six citizen judges, which is likely to result in the court judges still leading the decisions, Cheng added.
In simulated court sessions in preparation for the citizen judge system, there have even been cases in which the court judge scolded the citizen judges, he said.
“Only with a jury system with the collective wisdom of 12 jury members from all walks of life can we prevent judges from being bribed,” Cheng said, adding that he believes a jury system can help prevent miscarriages of justice.
Hu Shih-ho (胡世和), uncle of Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), an army corporal who died of abuse while serving in the military in 2013, prompting tens of thousands of people to attend a protest demanding legal reform, said the case was moved from military court to a civilian court due to public pressure, but the judge did not sentence the defendants or find the witness guilty of perjury.
People should not only be allowed to express themselves in court, but should have the right to vote as a way to balance the exclusive rights of judges, he said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US