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Apple Daily : Justification needed in verdict reversal

Apple Daily : Justification needed in verdict reversal

The Taiwan High Court recently gave harsh sentences on six former and incumbent lawmakers involved in a bribery case in the late 1990s, overturning the lower court's "not guilty" verdict.
While maintaining the lower court's prison sentence for a former legislator in the same case, the High Court extended the sentence for another ex-lawmaker from eight to 10 years.
The dramatic verdict reversal has of course won wide public acclaim. The judiciary's priority concern, however, should not be public response but rather the strength of evidence and the appropriateness of legal provisions employed in the judgment.
With this in mind, the judiciary should explain plausibly and convincingly why the High Court overturned the lower court's ruling.
It would be a dereliction of duty if High Court judges made the reversal simply because the judiciary's integrity is now in doubt after a spate of scandals involving senior judges was reported in recent months.
The High Court cited influence peddling in its verdict, but such an explanation was not sufficient. Influence peddling was rampant in local politics. Why had the lower court not discovered the situation in the first place? We earnestly hope the Supreme Court will come up with a plausible legal clarification of the verdict reversal rather than just return the case to the High Court for a retrial, as in numerous instances in the past. (Editorial abstract -- Sept. 10, 2010).
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2020-12-02 12:36 GMT+08:00