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Ma acquitted of information leakage charges

ROC Central News Agency

2017/10/11 14:51:58

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court upheld a lower court decision Wednesday in favor of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Kuomintang, acquitting him of abetting a leak of classified information relating to the investigation of an opposition lawmaker dating back to 2013.

According to the high court, the ruling is final and no appeal to the decision will be allowed.

Chou Cheng-ta (周政達), the presiding judge of Ma's hearing, said that Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), a senior lawmaker of the then-opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who accused of Ma leaking state secrets in the case, failed to present sufficient evidence to prove guilt.

In response to the ruling, Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯), a spokesperson for Ma's office, told the press that Ma was grateful for the ruling.

When asked to comment, Ma only nodded and smiled to the press.

Neither Ma nor Ke were present to hear the verdict.

The case goes back to September 2013, when it was disclosed that then-State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming (黃世銘) had shown Ma a transcript of wiretapped conversations that were part of evidence collected in an ongoing investigation of alleged breach of trust by Ker.

In the taped conversations, then-Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Ker were heard talking about lobbying two senior justice officials, including the minister of justice, to prevent any appeal of the breach of trust case in which Ker had been acquitted.

According to prosecutors, Ma encouraged Huang to leak the contents of the recording, Ker's personal information and other information related to the ongoing investigation to then-Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and then-Presidential Office Deputy Secretary General Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).

In the high court ruling, Chou said the wiretapped conversation failed to present enough evidence to show Ma had instigated Huang to leak the contents of the recording, and it was appropriate under the country's constitution for Ma, as president, to express concern about the domestic political situation.

Hsu said the ruling shows that any president of the country who steps down will not have to be bothered by unreasonable accusations like the lawsuit brought up by Ker.

On Aug. 25, the Taipei District Court found Ma not guilty, saying that there was insufficient evidence to show he had instigated the leak and no indication of criminal intent on Ma's part.

The court also cited Article 44 of the Republic of China Constitution to rule in Ma's favor, saying that as president he had the power to intervene in disputes between different branches of government.

(By Liu Shih-yi, Hsieh Chia-chen and Frances Huang)

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