[EDITORIALS]The Shame of the Shim CaseThe Supreme Court has ruled that the discharge of Shim Je-ryoon as head of the Taegu High Public Prosecutors' Office, be retracted. It is the first time that a discharged high-ranking prosecutor has won back his original post through a lawsuit filed against the government. Thus, in two and a half years, Mr. Shim has recovered his reputation and his job.
Mr. Shim had issued a declaration in January 1999 that demanded the ouster of leading prosecutors. He claimed innocence and claimed that he was coaxed to submit his resignation during the investigation of the attorney Lee Jong-gi, who was suspected of colluding with court officials to win more clients. Mr. Shim's act of disobedience evolved into prosecutors signing a joint statement and Mr. Shim's eventual disciplinary punishment and dismissal.
The ruling in the suit had brought attention because the influence it would exert and its tremendous effects on not only Mr. Shim, but on all prosecutors. Unprecedented confusion will become inevitable in the management of the organization and to prosecution personnel, because the prosecutor general and leading prosecutors are junior to Mr. Shim and there are no vacancies for the position of head of the high public prosecutor' office. Given these circumstances, it was ruled in the first court that only his discharge be canceled but his return to office disapproved. But the high court and the Supreme Court ruled that he should be reinstated, making Mr. Shim a head of the prosecutors' office without a seat for the first time in history.
It is shocking that the court reversed the decisions of the Ministry of Justice, which is mainly responsible for the interpretation and execution of laws. Further, the ministry and the prosecutors should humbly accept the ruling that reversed their decision to for the first time publicly place a high-ranking prosecutor under disciplinary action. They should especially be ashamed that Mr. Shim is being reinstated to his previously held post because the court ruled that the disciplinary action was too heavy a punishment superceding their rights although it did acknowledge most of the reasons for punishment the ministry enumerated.
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