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Principles are paramount (KOR)

Oct 22,2019
The prosecution on Monday requested a detention warrant for Prof. Chung Kyung-sim, former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s wife, from the Seoul Central District Court. Eleven charges against Chung were listed in the application, including forging an award and certificates to help her daughter gain admission to Seoul National University and Busan National University Medical School. Other charges involve her role in a family-run private equity fund, including an alleged violation of the capital market law and concealment of illegal profit. Chung is also accused of asking her asset manager to help create a fake certificate for her daughter and remove hard discs from PCs at her residence and office. Besides those charges, she has been charged with faking another academic award for her daughter’s application to Korea University.

Legal experts say the prosecution’s request for a detention warrant was unavoidable given a plethora of allegations against her and a strong possibility of destruction of evidence ahead of a court trial. The fact that Chung could attempt to destroy or contaminate evidence necessitates an arrest warrant from the court, the prosecution believes. In fact, it has not been confirmed where the hard discs of the PCs from her home and office are. Cho’ supporters’ claim that the prosecution went too far by requesting a detention warrant is not convincing to us.

And yet, a judge has to make a decision based on the prosecution’s investigation records and the defendant’s arguments. We urge the judge to make a fair and unbiased judgement based on the gravity of Chung’s possible violations of the law and the possibility of her destroying evidence. We hope the judge makes a cool-headed decision without being swayed by political pressure or public opinion, which is still heated on all matters to do with Cho.

The issuance of an arrest warrant does not necessarily mean a victory for the prosecution, and a denying of the request for an arrest warrant does not mean a defeat for the prosecution, because a final judgment will ultimately be made in a court. Our society has been attaching too much significance to whether a court issues an arrest warrant or not — to the extent of people digging up judges’ personal information and attacking their integrity if their decisions are not to their liking.

The prosecution must investigate the slew of allegations against former Justice Minster Cho’s family according to the law and principles. The court also must deliver a ruling based on the law. Bold catchphrases or incitements can never ensure justice from our judiciary.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 22, Page 30