|Photo taken on Aug. 26, 2013 shows the court trial of Bo Xilai (C, front) at Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province. The trial of Bo, charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, concluded at 1:04 p.m. Monday at the court. The verdict will be announced at a date yet to be decided. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
JINAN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The trial of Bo Xilai, charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, concluded at 1:04 p.m. Monday at Jinan Intermediate People's Court.
The verdict will be announced at a date yet to be decided.
On Monday morning, prosecutors summarized their case and demanded a heavy sentence for Bo, while the defendant made a 90-minute statement denying the charges. His lawyers also made defending statements.
The evidence presented in court and during cross-examination fully demonstrated clear facts and evidence is sufficient to charge Bo with the crimes, said prosecutors.
The facts of the crimes are objective and will not be altered by the defendant's own will, they stressed.
The fact-finding is based on all the evidence presented in the case and any attempts to deny or overturn the facts are in vain, prosecutors said.
Although the country's legal system has a principle of tempering justice with mercy, a heavy sentence in line with the law should be handed to Bo, as he committed very serious crimes and refused to plead guilty, said the prosecution.
"Additionally, he is not subject to any terms of leniency by law," they said.
During the discussion, Bo still denied the charges, insisting that he was not aware of or involved in the crimes, and questioned the credibility of witness testimony.
His defending lawyers expressed opinions concerning the motive of the defendant, the credibility of evidence and validity of evidence collection.
The presiding judge heard the opinions from both sides.
After the court debate, the defendant made a final statement.
The court will carefully and comprehensively review the evidence, fully consider opinions from both sides and make a judgement based on the facts and laws following deliberation by judges and discussion by the judicial committee, said a court spokesman after the trial.
Bo, 64, is former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.
He was emotionally stable during the trial, which was held Aug. 22 to 26. More than 100 people, including Bo's family and relatives, deputies to people's congresses, political advisors, ordinary citizens and journalists observed the trial.
Wang Peng, an editor with the Shandong Electronic Audio and Video Publishing House, observed the trial.
"Sitting in the courtroom, I learnt lots of the details of this case," he said. "I believe the court will make a fair judgement."
Liu Bingjun, dean of the Law School of Shandong University of Political Science and Law, said that the trial and and pretrial procedures showcased openness and fairness of justice.
"The whole trial followed strict legal procedures. The prosecution and defense were given full opportunities to express their opinions," said Liu, who also attended the trial.
The court debate was sufficient and comprehensive, he said, noting that key witnesses' attendance at the court is key to a fair trial.
"The court published the trial transcript through microblogs, a great step forward of the development of China's legal system," Liu said.
The Jinan court's microblog at Sina Weibo, a leading Chinese social network, has had more than 582,000 followers since it opened on Aug. 18. Its 160 posts, mainly about Bo's trial, gained tens of thousands of reposts and comments.
"Similar cases have never been so open and transparent. This is of historic significance," wrote Prof. Xie Youping, from Fudan University, in his own microblog.
"I was surprised that the trial of such a high-level official can be so open. This is great progress for our judicial system," said a civil servant in Chongqing city government surnamed Huang.
Many details revealed by the trial were thought-provoking, said Huang who preferred not giving his full name.
"Bo's case shows us that, no matter how high a profile a person has, they cannot cross the line of laws. We must always honor and respect the law when doing our job. Friendship and family should not overpower duty," he said.
Li Guifang and Wang Zhaofeng of the Beijing-based DeHeng Law Offices represented Bo at the trial.
As far as they know, Bo's family hired several lawyers during the investigation stage of the case and Bo himself chose them as his defense attorneys, the two lawyers told Xinhua after the trial.
They paid Bo more than 20 visits before and during the trial.
The lawyers had read all case files, copied relevant evidence and fully exchanged views on defense strategies with Bo during the visits, Li said.
"In court, we defended Bo based on facts and laws. We safeguarded his litigation rights and other lawful rights and interests," Li said.
The defense focused on the three charges and litigation procedures, especially facts the defense considered ambiguous and evidence that they thought not solid, he said.
"The court followed the principle of equality between prosecution and defense," Li said, adding that the court honored and respected the defendant's right to defend and to express himself, as well as the defense lawyers' right to question, examine and debate.
"For a lawyer, defending a high-ranking official and an ordinary citizen is essentially the same," he said.
"In both cases we defend the defendant's lawful rights and interests on a factual and legal basis so as to ensure proper implementation of laws and safeguard social justice," he said.
Sources told Xinhua that investigators in charge of the case looked into a total of 97 individuals with connection to or information about the case and got a lot of evidence. They also informed Bo of the right to hire lawyers.
During the case review and prosecution stage, prosecutors interrogated the defendant, not only trying to get the confession but also verify his reasonable explanations.
They also informed the defendant of his litigation rights and assigned people to assist defense lawyers when they wanted to access case files.
Jinan People's Procuratorate instituted a public prosecution against Bo on July 25 with the three charges of bribe-taking, embezzlement and abuse of power.
Assigned by the Supreme People's Court, the Jinan court formed a collegial panel and delivered a copy of the indictment to the defendant in time.
On Aug. 14, the collegial panel convened a pretrial conference attended by the defendant, his lawyers and the prosecutors, in which they discussed the evidence, witnesses and other judicial procedures for the trial.
On Aug. 18, the court announced the date and location of the trial and delivered a summons as well as notice of appearance to the defendant and his lawyers.
Bo's trial began on Thursday.
According to the indictment read by prosecutor Yang Zengsheng, Bo faces charges of bribe taking, embezzlement and abuse of power. The defendant gave a statement on the facts regarding his alleged offenses. Prosecutors and defense lawyers questioned the accused respectively.
The court investigation focused on Bo's three charges.
During the trial, key witnesses Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd., Wang Zhenggang, then director of the Dalian municipal bureau of urban and rural planning and land, and Wang Lijun, former vice mayor of Chongqing, appeared to testify in court.
Prosecutors, the defendant and his lawyers cross-examined the witnesses.
Prosecutors also read testimonies by other witnesses including Zhang Xiaojun and Patrick Devillers, a French national, played video recordings from Bo's wife Bogu Kailai and Tang Xiaolin, general manager of Dalian International Development Co. Ltd., as well as a slideshow of a villa involved in the case.
In addition, prosecutors presented evidence including documents and photographs of material evidence, and confessions and the handwritten confessions of the defendant.
The prosecutors also presented evidence on how Bo's case was exposed and investigated and that he did not turn himself in, confess his crimes or inform against others.
During the trial, the defendant and his lawyers questioned the witnesses and expressed their views on relevant evidence.
Facing key facts of the charges, Bo frequently defended himself by saying the evidence was "irrelevant" or he had only a vague impression.
Bo did not acknowledge the accusations, but he failed to offer evidence to refute the facts regarding his charges during his defense.
The defense lawyers also questioned the authenticity and legality of witness testimony.
In response, prosecutors said the evidence presented in court was authentic and taken legally from clear sources and the evidence of the entire case was enough to identify the defendant's conduct as crime.