Jury group’s head says sorry to ‘90%’ of ‘clean judges’

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 3

Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching (張靜) yesterday made a public apology following days of criticism in response to his claim that 5 to 10 percent of judges and prosecutors have accepted bribes.

Chang bowed in apology at a news conference in Taipei, but he doubled down on his claims.

“I hereby apologize to the 90 to 95 percent of judicial officials who are clean, have ethical conduct and are conscientious in carrying out their duties,” he said.

“Based on my observations over more than 30 years of work in the judicial system, 90 to 95 percent of officials have never accepted a bribe when it was offered,” said Chang, who is a former judge.

“This is something the judicial system across the Taiwan Strait cannot achieve. Therefore I want to apologize to those who have not taken a bribe,” he said.

Chang sparked debate after a letter he wrote was published on Saturday last week by online news platform Up Media in which he claimed that 5 to 10 percent of judges and prosecutors had accepted bribes and insinuated that rulings have been influenced by corruption.

The Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice and associations representing judges and prosecutors issued statements protesting Chang’s remarks, demanding that he provide evidence to support his claims.

They called on Chang to resign as a member of one of the Presidential Office’s judicial reform subcommittees.

Chang and the Taiwan Jury Association have advocated that the judiciary implement a 12-member jury system, in line with the British and US systems.

They say that would be the best way to root out corruption among prosecutors and judges.

Later yesterday, an association representing judges issued a statement saying that Chang’s remarks were not an apology, but rather an attempt to make his accusation in another way.

It called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to disqualify Chang as a member of the judicial reform subcommittee.