Frank Hsieh is suing prosecutor and TV presenter who leak and spread confidential information
Taiwan Shadow Government founder, Frank Hsieh held a press conference on 12th March, announcing that he was going to sue TVBS presenter, Li, Yen-chiu and Prosecutor, Lo, Chien-hsun in order to stop trial by media and help restore justice in the Taiwanese legal system. This action was instigated by Lo’s leakages of confidential information from a legal investigation involving Hsieh and possible fabrication of information and Li spreading that information.
The press conference started by playing a clip of Li’s show broadcast about two years ago when Lo phoned in live to ‘clarify’ his findings on the investigation on the Kao-hsiung Rapid Transit System (KRTS, the Kao-hsiung underground). Hsieh questioned why a prosecutor had to clarify anything to a TV presenter? He was leaking confidential information. (TV presenters should know that they are not supposed to publicly discuss specific legal casess and when they do, they also break the law)
Lo said on the show that Hsieh was a defendant in the KRTS case but the reality is that Hsieh has never been prosecuted since the beginning of the investigation and those who have been prosecuted have all been acquitted or found not guilty.
Hsieh pointed out that such trial by media, prosecutor(s) colluding with presenters and political commentators to smear others’ names, is for Lo’s personal gain, for his own fame. Hsieh went on to say that prosecutors are a lonely group of professionals and they are supposed to be contented with the loneliness (which comes with the job). Legal professionals can only treat all parties with fairness if they can withstand the loneliness and misunderstanding that comes with their jobs.
Hsieh stated that this case was just the beginning of a series of legal actions he was going to take against those who had been unprofessional and unethical about legal investigations or trials which clearly violates the laws. He explained that even if he stayed completely out of the public spotlight, those people still wouldn’t leave him alone. However, he refused to believe that justice cannot be restored and therefore decided to be proactive in tackling the problem. He said he still believes that there are legal professionals who have a sense of justice and a sense of duty and that it will be worth it if he could finally find those who could withstand pressure from the media, respect due process and uphold the rights for a fair trial.
He also explained in his radio programme that it has been extremely difficult for him to collect evidence to build his cases because he did not have any investigative power to justify any demand on those media groups to give him any recordings. He has had to ask around to see whether media companies were would help him, whether someone happened to have recorded certain parts of those programmes or kept copies of relevant news reports.
Hsieh explained that Lo has leaked information twice. He first told TVBS that he was making Hsieh a defendant in the case and the second time he told Next Magazine that Hsieh’s corruption and accepting bribery was clearly proven. Hsieh emphasised that Lo was untrue on both occasions. Hsieh said that if Hsieh’s offence was so obvious from evidence presented to the prosecution like Lo suggested, Hsieh should have been prosecuted by now but he has not. If Lo did not prosecute Hsieh when he was supposed to, then he would be in violation of his duty as a prosecutor. Hsieh went on to say that Lo had summoned and interviewed all 12 witnesses and none of them confirmed that Hsieh had received bribery or ‘sold’ any official position. Therefore, Lo was not recording information correctly (well, he probably made things up).
A lawyer, Hsu, Hui-feng explained that if prosecutors and the media carry on colluding with each other and form a structure, the independence of the justice system would disappear, so he hopes that the public takes this problem seriously. He also appealed to all prosecutors and judges not to become certain individuals’ instruments and that they should remain totally independent in any investigations and trials.