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Ethics Review Possible for Supreme Court Justice

Posted March. 17, 2009 09:23,   


Supreme Court Justice Shin Young-chul could undergo an ethics review for alleged interference with criminal trials and abuse of judicial authority while working at the Seoul Central District Court last year.

A special investigation team at the Supreme Court said yesterday, “We will refer the case to the civil servant ethical review committee at the Supreme Court.”

The team announced the results of its investigation into Shin’s suspected interference with trials handled by judges on candlelight vigils against the resumption of U.S. beef imports last year.

After announcing the results, the team’s head said, “Such an issue has been officially raised for the first time,” adding, “If the case is to become a catalyst for judicial development, it should undergo due process in a careful way.”

The team found that Shin called a judge who ordered the release on bail of a protester on Oct. 13 last year, saying, “Release on bail needs to be ruled carefully since the situation could become chaotic.”

“Shin’s behavior could be seen as interference with the content of the trial.”

Shin asked that trials be conducted in a certain way while holding a meeting with 14 criminal court judges on Oct. 13 last year. He also sent e-mails to judges with the same message on Oct. 14, Nov. 6 and Nov. 24.

The investigation team said, “His behavior could be seen as meddling with the trial process.”

On Shin’s random allocation of 10 of 96 cases to a certain court from July 16 last year, the team said, “The act could be considered abuse of judicial administrative authority.”

“The criteria by which he allocated the cases was obscure, and Shin seems to have failed to give a rational explanation. We believe he should’ve done it in a way to ensure fairness and transparency in allocating cases, and that rules out the possibility for the judge to randomly allocate cases.”

Shin also visited Constitutional Court Chief Justice Lee Kang-guk Oct. 13, or four days after a constitutional appeal was made on a law banning protests after sunset, and said that “The Constitutional Court needs to handle the pending cases as soon as possible so that trials on cases can be handled promptly on our side.”

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