A ruling that could deter other leaders of the self-ruled island from consulting their aides for fear of violating the law, has seen the imprisonment former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou.
Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was found guilty in a political leak case, and was sentenced to four months in prison, which can be commuted to a fine of NT$120,000 according to the ruling on May 15, in a reversal of the ruling by the Taipei District Court last August.
Though he was not present at the ruling, his office said they were going to appeal against the conviction. Ma was acquitted of the charges last year by the Taipei District Court, which found him not guilty in a case that charged him with instructing then-State Prosecutor-General Huang Shyh-ming, to disclose confidential information from a judicial probe. Also present at the September 2013 meeting between Ma and Huang were then-Premier Jiang Yi-huah, and then-Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang.
The president then went public with allegations, that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng had unduly tried to influence a case against a prominent opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker. As a result of the allegations, a power struggle broke out within the ruling Kuomintang, which led to repeated attempts by Ma and his supporters to have Wang expelled from the party, which would lead to him losing his position as legislative speaker and legislator. However, Wang took the case to court and won repeatedly, allowing him to stay within the KMT and serve out his term as speaker.
Citing Article 44 of the Constitution, the district court noted that Ma, as president, had right to intervene in disputes between different branches of government.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office lodged an appeal against the ruling, contending that there was clear evidence of Ma’s role in instigating the leak, and that the court misconstrued the president’s power to mediate disputes between different branches of government. Taipei prosecutors said the ruling could lead to influence peddling and jeopardize the country’s political institutions by allowing Ma’s successors to follow suit, reported the Liberty Times.