Prosecutor-general resigns after prison sentence
District court sentences Huang to 1 year and 2 months
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-21 04:58 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming tendered his resignation Friday after the Taipei District Court found him guilty of revealing confidential information about an investigation and sentenced him to one year and two months in prison.

Several months ago, Huang said he would resign before the end of his term next month if the court found him guilty or if the Control Yuan impeached him. He is the first-ever serving top prosecutor to have been found guilty by a court.

Huang was not in court to hear the ruling, but in a statement, he said he was fulfilling his promise. “I have to tell my compatriots that uncovering corruption is a difficult road but it’s one which one must travel,” his statement said. Huang said that the past six months were the most difficult in his 38 years in the judiciary.

The confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou was found guilty on two counts, of having illegally revealed confidential information about the influence-peddling investigation into Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng before the action was completed, and of having publicly announced the contents of conversations obtained by eavesdropping.

His attorneys though released a statement expressing their dismay at the ruling. They accused Wang of having broken all constitutional conventions by using his influence to interfere in a court case. They added that they would support the top prosecutor in filing an appeal with the Taiwan High Court.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) dropped a bombshell on September 6 by accusing Wang of illegally lobbying the Ministry of Justice to drop an eventual appeal against a not-guilty verdict in an embezzlement case directed against top opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming.

Even though Wang was still overseas, Ma launched a campaign to revoke the speaker’s membership of the ruling Kuomintang, which would also mean he lost his legislative seat. The campaign failed because Wang won a court injunction keeping him as a member as long as there was no court verdict. The Taipei District Court ruled in the legislative speaker’s favor Wednesday.

Huang was soon accused of illegal behavior as it came to light that he had met Ma at his official residence on August 31 and that the SID had placed wiretaps on the Legislative Yuan to gather information.

After Huang left the presidential residence, Ma called in Premier Jiang Yi-huah and a close aide to discuss the allegations with them. The following day, he phoned Huang for more explanations and they met again.

The top prosecutor has faced strong calls for his resignation but refused to budge or to admit any wrongdoing. On earlier occasions, he said he would only resign if the Taipei District Court found him guilty or if the Control Yuan impeached him. He survived several impeachment attempts by the top government watchdog because of votes tied between supporters and opponents.

The top prosecutor said he did not violate any confidentiality laws because the outcome of the investigation was already known when he spoke to Ma, even though the case was not closed until September 5.

Huang’s term was to end next month, but Ma has already named Yen Da-ho as his successor. The Legislative Yuan will have to vote before the nomination is approved.

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