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Chen loses libel suit against TV commentator

Chen loses libel suit against TV commentator

A well-known TV commentator was found not guilty of libel in a lawsuit filed by President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) daughter, who claimed that her reputation had been damaged by the commentator's allegations that she had opened a bank account in New York.
The judge found Hu Chung-hsin (胡忠信) not guilty on grounds that Hu's reference to Chen Hsing-yu's (陳幸妤) bank account was part of a longer narrative about an alleged money laundering scheme involving President Chen Shui-bian.
Taiwan is a free country and its people have the freedom to comment on what President Chen does in running the government, in dealing with his personal matters of concern to the public, and whether he is involved in any corruption, the verdict read.
What people are concerned about is whether President Chen sent money overseas, not if his daughter opened a bank account in New York, according to the court verdict.
In the course of the investigation, the judge sought help from the United States regarding bank information in order to determine whether Chen Hsing-yu did open an account during her last visit to New York, but the U.S. judiciary turned down the request on grounds that libel is not a criminal offense in the United States.
Based on the court's analysis of the text of Hu's remarks during TV talk shows about President Chen's alleged money laundering scheme, the judge deemed that Hu did not fabricate a story with malicious intent in order to smear the reputation of the president's daughter.
The judge also summoned some witnesses who quoted their friends in New York as saying that they did see the president's daughter open an account in Yew York while she was there for a training program between September 12 and 16.
The judge concluded that Hu had reasons to believe that Chen Hsing-yu had opened a bank account, after taking various factors into account, including a statement by Chen's classmate that she had taken one afternoon off to attend to some personal business after seeing her husband and son off at the airport two days before her return to Taipei.
By combining various factors, the judge concluded that Hu did not fabricate the story nor did he have malicious intent when he talked about the conclusion of his analysis of a series of facts that he had collected from various sources.
Chen's daughter was not available for comment on the verdict. She may appeal the case in the Taiwan High Court within one month after she has received the verdict.


Updated : 2021-05-15 23:37 GMT+08:00