Justice delayed on KEBThe lawsuit over allegations that Korea Exchange Bank was sold on the cheap to Lone Star Funds has stagnated because of clashes between the court and prosecutors.
In a trial at the Seoul Central District Court on Monday, the prosecutors’ request to call two additional witnesses was rejected by the court. One of the two prosecutors immediately walked out of the courtroom.
The remaining prosecutor left the room during a break and did not return. The judges ended the trial without the prosecutors’ statement, after the last oral proceedings by lawyers and last statements by defendants.
The court said there was no problem with the proceedings because the prosecutors left although they were given the chance to make their statements.
In response, the prosecutors said, “Ending the trial in the absence of prosecutors is against criminal law, which requires prosecutors’ statements on the facts and application of the law.”
The prosecutors, however, had no excuse for leaving the courtroom just because they were unhappy with how the trial was progressing.
The prosecutors, who are government employees and should defend the public interest, need to prove guilt objectively and as a result of rigorous investigation, and not give in to outbursts of emotion.
The court and prosecutors have clashed since the investigation began in 2006.
The court rejected 12 petitions for detention or arrest warrants, including denying requests for a detention warrant on Yoo Hoe-won, the president of Lone Star Advisers Korea, four times.
Since then, 31 witnesses have been called over the 22 months of the trial.
Meanwhile, the defendants and the witnesses are exhausted. The psychological and economic burdens of the two-year trial cannot be ignored.
The Constitution states that everyone has the right to receive a speedy trial. This is to minimize damage to related parties.
But after two years at this stage of the trial there is still no end in sight. The court and the prosecutors should stop their wrangling and instead do what’s best for all involved.