Court demands retrial of A-bian perjury case

CIRCUMSTANCES::The High Court found that prosecutors failed to inform a witness in the perjury case that he had the right to refuse to testify

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - Page 3

The Supreme Court on Thursday demanded that a perjury case involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) be retried in the Taiwan High Court.

The High Court in August found Chen not guilty of inducing his aides to give false testimony with regards to his alleged misuse of a special state affairs fund.

The Supreme Court’s retrial demand came after an appeal by prosecutors.

The court said the high court failed to clearly state why Chen was ruled not guilty.

The High Court’s ruling in August overturned the one handed down by the Taipei District Court in July last year, when Chen was sentenced to two months in jail.

Chen was accused of abetting Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成) and Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓) — who headed Chen’s office at different times during his tenure as president from 2000 to 2008 — to make false statements when prosecutors looked into his alleged misuse of the fund in 2006.

The prosecutors found that Chen had allegedly asked Ma and Lin to tell prosecutors that the state affairs fund was used in secret diplomatic operations rather than siphoned off into the first family’s pockets.

Chen also allegedly instructed the pair to deny that his wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), had used invoices provided by other people to claim reimbursements from the fund, according to the prosecutors.

The High Court found that before Lin gave his testimony on Aug. 8, 2006, the prosecutors did not inform him that he had the right to refuse to testify.

Under the circumstances, it did not constitute perjury even if Lin lied to prosecutors that day, the high court said.

Moreover, there was no evidence proving that Chen had instructed Lin and Ma to give false testimony, the court said.

Chen is currently serving a 18-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption.