The Supreme Court rendered the 108-Tai-Shang-Zi 1099 Criminal Decision of April 18, 2019 (hereinafter, the “Decision”). According to this Decision, whether an offense is established or a criminal penalty should be exempt should be determined based on civil-law relations; and in a civil case where a complaint has been filed, a criminal court has the discretionary right under the law to decide if the criminal trial will be stayed before the civil proceedings are concluded without been bound by any motion of a party, and it is not true that the criminal court that does not stay the trial would violate the law.
In this case, since the Appellant appealed to request the reversal of the original decision on the following grounds: (1) the trial judge of the original trial court should have but did not recuse himself and failed to stay the trial pursuant to law; (2) the Appellant, who had taken a leave of absence, did not fail to appear in court without justification on the trial date while the original trial court still elected to render a decision; (3) the original trial court failed to perform its verification obligation; and (4) the original trial court failed to actually determine facts and apply laws according to the evidence in the court files.
With respect to whether a criminal court is required to stay the criminal trial before the civil proceedings are concluded, it was pointed out in this Decision that under the principle of judicial independence in Article 80 of the Constitution, it is not true that the fact finding and trial of criminal cases are essentially bound by the facts determined in civil decisions. However, the contents of a civil decision may still serve as a kind of evidence and may be referenced for a criminal trial. To avoid the conflicts and discrepancies between a civil decision and a criminal decision, whether an offense is established or a criminal penalty should be exempt should be premised on civil-law relations. If a civil complaint has been filed, the criminal court “may” stay the trial before the civil proceedings are concluded in accordance with Article 297 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 297 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that a criminal court “may” stay the trial, which specifically means that since the criminal court has room for its discretion, it can certainly elect to determine the relevant civil-law relations and rely on them as the basis of its criminal decision based on its convictions of law and according to the empirical and logical rules that objectively exist. The criminal court is not bound by a motion to stay the criminal trial by any party, and it is not true that the criminal court would violate the law if it fails to stay the trial. Therefore, it was held in this Decision that since the presiding judge of the original trial court instructed the Appellant during the original trial that the motion to stay the litigation proceedings was not legally appropriate, the decision not to stay the criminal trial was not erroneous. Therefore, it was held that the Appellant’s accusation that this aspect was illegal could not serve as a legitimate reason for appealing to the third instance trial.