The Taiwan Jury Association and other legal experts yesterday accused Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) of promoting “fake judicial reforms” by pushing a “lay judge system” instead of adopting a jury system.
Poll after poll has shown that Taiwanese have little trust in the nation’s justice system, “because most of them do not believe decisions made by judges are fair and impartial,” said attorney Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍), founder of the association.
They do not trust judges because they believe their judgements are influenced by politics and money — “two major problems that have long plagued Taiwan’s justice system,” Cheng told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Cheng and other legal experts blasted Hsu’s presentation on Monday of a half-year progress report on the outcome of a national conference on judicial reform.
They questioned Hsu’s “positive” talk about judicial reforms, which he said have achieved a lot, with public trust in the justice system increasing.
“More than 80 percent of respondents in a poll want to participate in ruling on cases, and 95 percent of those who had taken part in simulated court sessions support adoption of a lay judge system,” Hsu said.
Association deputy chairman Chang Ching (張靜), a former prosecutor and judge, said that Hsu “misleads with fake news about the high support for [civilians] participating in rulings, because most respondents did not know if the Judicial Yuan was going for a lay judge system or a jury system. Hsu is deceiving everyone by blocking a jury system, which is what the public wants.”
“From our public polls over the past few years, which were conducted by universities, more than 80 percent of people support a jury system as a way of reforming Taiwan’s justice system,” Chang added.
Cheng said that in a lay judge system, the main decisionmaking power is still in the hands of a court judge, who can control the lay judge serving on the bench, “thereby opening up [the system] to political intervention and graft to influence judgements.”
Cheng cited as an example 2011, when the High Court caught four judges and one prosecutor for corruption.
Moreover, “while talking to my friends recently, I heard some of them discussing ways to offer bribes to judges. This shows that the problem of corrupt judges remains,” he said.
He added that “political intervention was very prevalent during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime, which meddled in the justice system,” he said.
“Former KMT leader and president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) personally intervened in about 3,000 rulings, according to findings by the Transitional Justice Commission,” he said.
Among the files and documents uncovered by the commission were handwritten messages by Chiang in 876 cases, in which he changed the rulings for dissidents and political prisoners from imprisonment to orders to “put them to death,” “execution by firing squad,” or to be “handed capital punishment.”
SCANDAL: There are still discussions over whether a ban from being coaches, referees or agents should be imposed on the players, the association said The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA), Taiwan’s basketball governing body, on Tuesday said that it has handed lifetime bans to 10 players accused of game-fixing and breaches of betting rules. In a statement on Tuesday, the CTBA said it has revoked the registration of nine former players from the semi-professional Super Basketball League’s (SBL) Yulon Lexgen Dinos and one from the Taiwan Beer Leopards of the professional T1 League. The nine former Dinos players are Ko Min-hao (柯旻豪), Chiu Chung-po (邱忠博), Chen Pin-chuan (陳品銓), Huang Hsuan-min (黃鉉閔), Wu Yu-jen (吳祐任), Chou Wei-chen (周暐宸), Yen Wen-tso (顏聞佐), Lee Chi-en (李其恩), and Senegalese center
It took director Chong Keat Aun (張吉安) nearly a decade to complete Snow in Midsummer (五月雪), a deft chronicle of Malaysia’s May 13 incident told through one woman’s search for her brother and father. Although only his second feature, it led the field at yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards with nine nominations. Chong said it had been a struggle to get people to share their memories of the intercommunal violence following the 1969 national election, known among the country’s ethnic Chinese community as “513.” “My father, for example, would shut the conversation down if my mother or grandma even mentioned the topic,” Chong said
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted