Prosecutor impeached for being idle

The China Post news staff

The nation’s highest government watchdog body has turned over a prosecutor for disciplinary action after impeaching him for neglecting his job. Ho Ke-change, a prosecutor at the Pingtung Prosecutors Office, became the first prosecutor in Taiwan to be impeached for taking no actions on too many prosecution cases reaching his desk.

Huang Shih-ming, the nation’s top public prosecutor and concurrently head of the Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office, turned Ho over to the Control Yuan for investigation after finding out that he has left 45 cases idle, including one case that was registered five years ago and 12 filed 12 months earlier. Chen Chien-ming and Lee Fu-dian, two members of the Control Yuan, criticized Ho for “leaving legal cases to sleep” at the expense of justice as well as people’s interests and benefits. Ho will now face punishments from the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Public Functionaries under the Judicial Yuan. Ho, 55, was not available for comment.

But during an earlier probe, he defended himself by saying that his inaction on so many cases resulted from his waiting for more evidence to emerge and it is beyond his control when the relevant evidence would be presented to him.

Chen said a public prosecutor should not simply wait for evidence to present itself. If there is no proof, a prosecutor should exonerate the suspects instead of holding up the cases for so long, he said. He said Ho violated regulations in the rules governing services of public servants and the code of conduct for prosecutors. Huang, the top prosecutor, said Ho is eligible for discipline mainly because he had delayed taking action without giving proper reasons. Ho could face disciplinary actions like a discharge, suspension, demotion, cut in pay, demerits or a reprimand. There were mixed appraisals of Ho’s performance by is colleagues. Some lauded him for being candid and assiduous at work though such a serious attitude might have caused his procrastination on certain cases. Meanwhile others criticized him for wrapping up less than half the cases in his hands, saying that social order in Taiwan could collapse if all prosecutors had the same attitude.