[EDITORIALS]End this power struggleThe prosecution’s request for warrants to arrest two Lone Star executives and to detain one Lone Star Korea official for the KEB credit card stock price manipulation were rejected by the court for a second time. The prosecutors denounced the decision and said that they will make a third application for warrants. This conflict over warrants is likely to continue for a while. The prosecution said the alleged Lone Star stock trading violations incurred losses for many investors. If the suspects are indicted without detention, it is unfair to the victims, the prosecution said.
It is, of course, necessary to punish any who are found guilty of stock price manipulation, in order to protect current and future victims. And there is already a precedent in this case. One suspect, who earned 1 billion won ($1,060,000) of profit through stock price manipulation, has been detained. The Lone Star case caused losses for investors estimated to reach 20 billion won, so it is understandable that indicting the suspects without detention will prompt criticism.
The court, however, did not reject the warrants because the charges were groundless. The first and second rejections were based on slightly different reasons, but they share a common point: Both judges in the two detention hearings said there is no risk of flight or evidence destruction. The court judged that the prosecution does not need to detain the suspects in order to successfully pursue its investigation.
When new evidence or a new charge is revealed, the prosecution can apply for warrants again. The nation’s criminal code does not limit the number of warrant applications in a criminal case. And yet, the prosecution made its second application for warrants without any modification to its first filing in terms of either points of law or evidence. If the prosecution seeks warrants three times without new evidence, that is not acceptable.
The prosecution must not become obsessed with warrants as part of a power struggle with the courts. It is time to respect the court’s decision. The Lone Star probe may be more difficult as a result, but the prosecutors can still prove its case through further investigation. That is how the legal system works under our Constitution and the laws and it will be a step closer to the principle that investigations should be conducted without detention unless there is dire need.
In order to prevent a further power struggle, the court and the prosecution must hold a constructive debate to agree on a standard for detaining suspects accused of major crimes.