161013 First Trial of Defendant A & Her Accomplices on Charges of False Accusation & Attempted Extortion
- DATE: Oct. 13, 2016
- Judicial Bench: Seoul Central District Criminal Court 15 Single Judge Choi Jong Jin
1) Lee, so-called A, charged with false accusation & attempted extortion, imprisoned
2) Hwang (mob) charged with attempted extortion, imprisoned
3) Lee (Defendant Lee’s boy friend) charged with attempted extortion, not imprisoned
Note 1: Mob Hwang was indicted for 2 other fraud cases so that all 3 cases were consolidated together. As provided under the Korean Criminal Procedure Act, Article 300, the court may order the consolidation of oral proceedings (i.e., trial cases) upon request of a prosecutor or defense counsel or ex officio to reduce repetitive procedures.
Note 2: Defendant Lee (A) and Defendant Hwang appeared in the court wearing their prison uniform. In Korea, most of the defendants are not normally imprisoned before they are imposed with prison sentence. Only defendants who committed serious crimes are arrested and imprisoned. As you know, Defendant Lee’s bail application was also dismissed due to the possibility of destruction of evidences and flight.
- Length: The trial took about 25 minutes
1) Confirm the identification of the defendants (The fact that Defendant Lee (A) and Defendant Lee (BF) are living at the same address was pointed out by the Judge).
2) The prosecutor presented opening statements summarizing the nature of the cases.
3) The defendants denied all the charges.
Note 3: Statements of the nature of crimes and the evidences have been sent to the judge from the prosecutors. The defense counsel’s opinions on the charges of their defendants also have been submitted to the judge. In the first trial, those were orally confirmed. Please remember the nature of the public trial is to give an opportunity for the defendants to defend themselves and to have a fair trial. However, the judge is well aware of the cases based on the documents sent from the prosecutors so the judge would not automatically accept the claims of the defense counsels.
Note 4: Defendant Lee (A) denied all the charges and claimed her previous false accusation against the victim (Yuchun). She also claimed that the police forced her to withdraw her report. But, such claim was totally baseless. She submitted her written complaint on June 10th and withdrew it on June 14th, both via Defendant Lee (BF) (JTBC (Exclusive), June 13th and Sports Dongah (Exclusive), June 14th 2016). Defendant Lee (BF) said that he submitted the written withdrawal to Gangnam Police Staff around 6:30 PM on the 14th in the interview with Sports Dongah right after the submission (his interview uploaded at 6:48 PM on June 14th 2016 at Sports Dongah). Gangnam Police officially released news about the withdrawal on 15th of June. After her withdrawal was submitted, she was out of contact right away for sometime so that Gangnam Police was having a hard time to investigate the case (SBS, June 18th 2016). Considering the above fact that Defendant Lee (A) submitted both of her written complaint and the withdrawal via Defendant Lee (BF) and the news that reported the difficulty of the police investigation due to her condition of incommunicado, she had not had any direct contact with the police between the period of filing and withdrawing her complaint. Therefore, her claim that she was forced by the police to withdraw was groundless. Moreover, by the Korean Criminal Law, sexual assault is not an offense subject to complaint and the police investigation is supposed to be continued with or without the complaint, so the withdrawal of the complaint in the process doesn’t affect the continuation of the investigation, which means that the police could not possibly force A to drop her complaint as she claimed simply because it would be pointless. Meanwhile, re-filing complaint of the same crime is prohibited by the Korean Criminal Procedure Law, Article 232 (Revocation of Complaint). Therefore, the reports distributed by some Korean media such as Channel A during early July that new evidences to prove the alleged sexual assault committed by Yuchun was found and Defendant Lee (A) refiled her complaint to request the severe punishment against him were absolutely unfounded fabrication by the ignorance and malicious intentions of Korean media. Furthermore, the police examined the application of arrest warrant against Defendant Lee (BF) and Defendant Hwang because they had not answered the summon by police (Yonhap News, June 25th 2016) while still having interviews with various media (Sports Kyunghyang, Aug. 29th 2016) such as MBC and Channel A.
Note 5: Defendant Lee (A) and Defendant Lee (BF) claimed that they had no knowledge about the attempted extortion led by Hwang. Accordingly, the counsels on their side claimed that if their involvement of this crime was recognized, their charges would be abetting of extortion, which is to be certainly less severely punished (Seoul Kyungje, Oct. 13th 2016).
4) The witnesses were selected by the judge. In this trial, all the witnesses including Yuchun were called by the defense counsels and the judge accepted.
Note 6: Please remember Yuchun is a victim of this case and also the person who filed reports against the defendants for false accusation and extortion. During the trial, the judge called Yuchun as victim while A and her accomplices as the defendants.
Note 7: Again, to give fair trial opportunities, the judges tend to accept the witnesses called by the defense counsels. However, in the following trials, the judge and the prosecutor can also question the witnesses. Thus, their charges will be proved in the process. The judge reminded the prosecutor that they could apply for a closed court if necessary. Thus, there is a high possibility that Yuchun’s testimony will be held in the closed court.
5) The 1st trial finished.
Note 8: There is an organization called the Sentencing Commission (http://sc.scourt.go.kr/sc/engsc/index.jsp) that provides separate guidelines for different crimes. According to this guideline, these defendants are fallen under the conditions of the aggravated sentencing for attempted extortion (http://sc.scourt.go.kr/sc/engsc/guideline/criterion_23/threat_01.jsp) and false accusation (http://sc.scourt.go.kr/sc/engsc/guideline/criterion_07/falsecharge_01.jsp).
- Attempted extortion
Special Sentencing Determinants
- Active Role in Organizing the Commission of the Crime
- Offense Caused Significant Damage to the Victim
- Habitual extortion or repeated extortion
Thus, it should be also examined whether any defendants may fall into this category.
General Sentencing Determinants
- Two or More Co-Offenders
- Premeditated Crime
- Condemnable Motives
Definition: “The sentencing determinants are grouped into special and general sentencing determinants. Special sentencing determinants have important effect on sentencing and on determining the applicable sentencing zone as well. General sentencing determinants have less affect and cannot be used to determine the applicable zone, but can be used to decide a specific sentence within the sentencing zone.” From http://www.scourt.go.kr/sc/engsc/guideline/manual/stand/standard_03.jsp
- False Accusation
Special Sentencing Determinants
- Causes Serious Harm
According to PUNISHMENT OF VIOLENCES, ETC. ACT (https://goo.gl/t81HHQ in Korean and https://goo.gl/MD4246 in English), Article 2 (Assault, etc.), if two or more persons jointly commit certain crimes in which extortion is included in such category, the punishment shall be aggravated up to the half of the punishment prescribed in the respectively applicable provisions of the Criminal Act.
Trans by: Uttunfan
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