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Judge Arrest Shakes Faith in Courts

Posted August. 11, 2006 04:41,   


The waves of the corruption scandal surrounding Kim Hong-su, 58, a carpet importer in prison, are surging.

After former judge Cho Gwan-haeng, 50, was arrested, distrust of the justice system is growing to the extent that the court’s judgments are now being questioned.

“Cho’s Judgments Are Questionable” –

After former judge Cho was arrested on August 8 on charges of taking money and gifts for favors, voices of distrust and requests for retrials are bursting out from those who received judgments in trials presided by Cho.

Park, 54, who lost in a sales money claim lawsuit presided over by Cho in 2004, submitted a petition for the review of the case on August 9.

Park, who sued Ha for 230 million won in sales money in 2003, argued that the court accepted a slip faked by Ha to prove his lie that he gave back 98 million won out of 230 million won by check.

Park said in his petition, “I asked the court to examine whether the slip was not faked, but Cho rejected it as a waste of time.”

The Supreme Court is reported to have concluded that the four cases intervened in by Cho to do Kim favors have no problems in terms of legal principles. Prosecutors did not confirm whether Cho’s intervention influenced the results of trials.

Courts on the Rocks –

With the news that the petition was submitted, the court is worrying over the possibility that it may trigger a series of petitions questioning judgments and threaten the foundation of the judicature.

A source in the Civil Appeal Office of Seoul Central District Court said, “In the past, people expressed their discontent with judges as individuals, but recently we hear voices critical of the court as a whole.”

A senior judge in a district court also said, “Those on trials are increasingly distrusting the court,” and a judge in Seoul High Court reported, “The court is concerned about whether people will accept judgments after this scandal broke out.”

A source in the Supreme Court said, “If the people continue to disobey the court’s judgments, it might be a threat to the state justice system.”

However, a judge in Seoul High Court pointed out, “There is no way to avoid it. We have to respond to a crisis according to common sense and principles. The judicature can be revived when the Supreme Court is more active in investigating and revealing corruption.”

On the other hand, voices have erupted objecting to the arrest of Cho. Senior Judge Jeong Jin-gyeong of the Uijeongbu District Court posted a message critical of the topside of the court and prosecutors on a court online forum on August 10.

Jeong said, “I don’t understand why public opinions and judges’ social responsibilities are mentioned at all in relation to the arrest. The warrant judge needs to examine only whether the arrest is valid according to law and conscience.”

He continued to question prosecutors’ investigation, “I heard Cho said he wanted to commit suicide. This is a circumstantial evidence that there was a serious problem in prosecutors’ investigation.”

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