The Supreme Court rendered the 106-Tai-Shang-173 Civil Decision of January 11, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that for a news report relating to a crime under investigation and public interest, if the name of the party concerned is redacted with no evidence that shows any deliberate disclosure of the full name of the party concerned, it shall not be deemed to violate the principle that investigation shall not be disclosed to the public.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant asserted as follows. Members of the Criminal Investigation Corp. of the New Taipei City Police Department called a press conference for cracking down on a violent debt collection gang and issued press release materials titled “Husband in Jail but Wife Leading the Gang in Act of Violence” (hereinafter, the News Materials at Issue”). This violated the principle that investigation should not be disclosed to the public and divulged her full name and her relationship as the wife of the Defendant. As a result of media coverage, she was perceived to have committed the offense by the public and her reputation was tarnished. Therefore, she sought national compensation and requested that an apology notice be published in a newspaper.
It was held in this Decision that since the crime under investigation, particularly a violent crime in society, has major impact on social order and the safety of the public and is vital to public interest, the public certainly has the right to know. The criminal case at issue seemed to have affected social order and the safety of the public and was related to public interest. In addition, the name of the Appellee was partially redacted in the News Materials at Issue, and there was no evidence that shows any police officer affiliated with the Appellant had deliberately disclosed the Appellee’s full name. Therefore, whether there was any legally violation should be further determined. In addition, after a police agency refers a case to the district prosecutors’ office, a decision as to whether to prosecute the suspects still requires certain investigation by the prosecutor. Therefore, that the prosecutor subsequently did not press charges in the criminal case at issue after the investigation could not be used to infer that the release of the News Materials at Issue by the Appellant’s officers tarnished the Appellee’s reputation out of negligence, and the original decision was reversed and remanded.