Posted September. 18, 2010 14:23,
The Seoul Southern District Court Friday levied a fine of 3 million won (2,580 U.S. dollars) on Rep. Kang Ki-gap, head of the progressive Democratic Labor Party, for using violence and disturbing administration at the National Assembly.
Kang immediately expressed his intent to appeal the fine.
He was charged with using violence and disturbing administration at the National Assembly in January last year protesting the ejection of his party`s leaders who had been staging a sit-in protest at the National Assembly.
A lower court found him not guilty but the district court struck down this ruling. Despite the reversal of the verdict, Kang will remain a legislator since a lawmaker loses his or her parliamentary seat only if sentenced to prison or heavier punishment unless charged with an election law violation.
The latest court ruling said, "The removal of a banner by National Assembly guards was enforcement of duty in compliance with law, and Kang`s threatening behavior of seizing a security guard by the collar was a violation and constitutes obstruction of public duty."
"(Kang`s) act of pushing off an auxiliary table at the National Assembly secretary-general`s office cannot be constructed as having been unintentional."
The court also said, "As the head of a minority party, Rep. Kang claims his act was a legal defense against the illegal use of public power and should be justified. But the intensity of his act is believed to have exceeded the degree of an appeal that is socially acceptable, and he could have protested through a formal process."
"The court took into consideration that the value of the damaged articles and injuries and damage to the other party were not serious, and that he made a public apology admitting to the inappropriateness of his act."
On Kang`s raid into the secretary-general`s office, however, the court upheld the lower court`s ruling that found him not guilty. "Kang entered the office out of anger, but had no intent to use violence from the beginning," the ruling said.
Kang was also found not guilty on the charge that he obstructed public duty by shouting in front of the National Assembly speaker`s office. He said, "I cannot accept the court`s ruling. I will immediately appeal."
Kang was indicted for obstructing public duty and damaging public property in January last year by raiding the National Assembly secretary-general`s office and pushing off articles after the speaker mobilized guards. His party leaders at the time were staging a sit-in protest of the ruling party`s approval of a media law.