Silence court outburstsThere was yet another fiasco in the trial involving the Jan. 20 accident at the Yongsan redevelopment site, which resumed for the first time in almost three months.
Some members of the group assisting accident victims who were watching the proceedings in the courtroom swore at the judges and caused a disturbance.
Regardless of their reasons or intent, any act insulting the holy law of the court can never be accepted for any reason.
But it didn’t end there. A group of lawyers for Lee Chung-yeon, head of the committee assisting former residents of the redevelopment site, walked out of court after the judges rejected a request to suspend the case until the prosecution discloses the records of the probe into the accident. Remember, Lee is under indictment for unlawful interference with government officials’ public duties.
But Lee’s courtroom actions cannot be justified.
People with varying personal and political interests sat in the audience, which certainly causes tension. But a fair and proper trial procedure is not possible if people shout at each other and swear whenever something happens that they don’t like.
For this very reason, court-related laws stipulate that “those who interfere with the trial with violent language and acts or those who greatly damage the trial’s dignity will be subject to prison terms of up to 20 days or fines of up to 1 million won [$800].”
In this regard, it is truly regrettable that the court did not take any actions against the audience members behind the trouble.
The judges explained it was the “first trial since the resumption [of the case] and necessary sanctions will be enforced at the next trial.”
But such lax execution of public power can bring down the authority of the court and can cause even more disturbances.
Of course, the prosecution’s decision to withhold some of the records of the probe into the accident is not desirable.
However, the Supreme Court ruled before that the prosecution cannot be sanctioned even if it does not agree to release its investigation records.
In this case, judges should have explained the situation to those in attendance and proceeded with the trial.
And they should have taken appropriate measures for those who interfered with the trial.
The court’s authority can be preserved only when it sticks to its principles and exercises its public power. There is no excuse for acting otherwise.