Ex-President Ma to appeal guilty verdict

2018/05/15 19:18:22 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Ex-President Ma to appeal guilty verdict

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Tuesday he will "definitely appeal" the Taiwan High Court's verdict earlier in the day that found him guilty of leaking classified information and sentenced him to four months in prison.

The Taiwan High Court found Ma guilty of leaking classified information related to an ongoing investigation into an opposition lawmaker in September 2013, thereby reversing an earlier acquittal by a lower court.

Ma told members of the press in the afternoon that he plans to appeal the decision because it infringes on the constitutional rights granted to a president and future Taiwanese presidents could have their rights restricted as a result of the ruling.

The High Court panel of judges said that Ma was not entitled to leak evidence of an ongoing investigation into alleged breach of trust by senior Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to then Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and then Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).

It maintained that he was not exercising his executive power under the Constitution, as the case was unrelated to disputes involving two or more Yuan (branches of government), a different ruling to that of the Taipei District Court on Aug. 25, 2017.

However, the High Court did uphold the lower court's ruling, finding Ma not guilty of instructing then-State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) to disclose details of the ongoing investigation into Ker to Jiang.

In its sentencing, the court took into account that Ma caused less damage with his leak than Huang, who showed Ma a transcript of wiretapped conversations between then Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Ker, allegedly discussing influence peddling. After all, the court noted, Ma instructed Jiang and Lo not to disclose any of the information until the prosecutors made it public.

As Huang received 15 months in prison for his actions, the court thought it fair Ma should receive four months, which can be commuted to a fine.

In response, Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said the four month sentence is fair as divulging secrets, other than those relating to national defense, is a minor offense. (By Kuan-lin Liu, Hsieh Chiah-chen, Ku Chuan, Hsiao Po-wen and Wang Yang-yu)


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