TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Fury over a not-guilty ruling for former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is spiraling through the country as the law cited by a young judge is said to be erroneously interpreted.
The China-friendly former president Ma was found not guilty of leaking classified information about a probe into top opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) dated back to 2013 which revealed the then-Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a senior member of Ma’s own political party, had spoken with judicial officials to allegedly persuade them not to file an appeal against a not-guilty verdict for Ker.
Prosecutors had charged Ma in March after a six-month probe with violating laws for divulging secrets and instigating others to engage in leaking secrets. The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years.
The Taipei District Court judge, a 28-year-old National Taiwan University graduate who began her career as a judge in 2014, ruled reportedly in accordance with Article 44 of the Constitution that President can exercise his or her rights to handle a dispute between two or more of the five administrative branches (Yuan), saying that Ma was convening a meeting with heads of the concerned parties to reach an agreement according to the law.
The verdict has quickly drawn criticism by law makers and judicial experts as the Article cited for the case is “inappropriate” and “ridiculous” as Wang has never been invited to join such a meeting set to reach solutions and was targeted in the plan to be ousted from his post.
Appeals are still possible.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that Ma was apparently engaging in wiretapping and judicial intervention in an attempt to force Wang to leave rather than ironing out disagreements, describing the judicial interpretation as a mess.
New Power Party lawmaker Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said the judge has made a mistake and hurts judicial independence.