Who destroyed the disks?The key step in any investigation is securing as much material evidence as possible, as suspects and even witnesses are likely to reverse their explanations and descriptions at some point.
That’s why modern investigation techniques rely heavily on scientific evidence. In this sense, the prosecution’s announcement yesterday of the results of its investigation into the government’s illegal probe of a civilian falls well short of our expectations.
After a 38-day investigation spearheaded by a special team at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, three officials were charged with coercion.
But all suspicions about the potential involvement of higher officials in the illegitimate probe remain.
This shoddy investigation most likely stems from the sad reality that prosecutors failed to secure decisive evidence.
In the investigation process, prosecutors uncovered signs that officials attempted to destroy crucial evidence. The prosecutors confiscated 12 computers from the government’s ethics office, but the hard drives of seven computers had already been damaged. This shows that someone in the office tampered with the hard drives and erased the data. The prosecution said that the move to destroy the data “hampered our investigation.”
The prosecution should therefore have focused its investigation on hunting down those who sought to cover up the truth by engaging in obstruction of justice.
If the prosecutors could not figure out who destroyed the decisive data, it amounts to a dereliction of duty.
The prosecution should have exerted all its efforts to explore the possibility that insiders were involved in an act of destruction.
If data on the computers did not contain conclusive evidence against high officials, why would someone in the office try to erase the data on those computers?
This poor investigation is a natural consequence of neglecting the basic principles of the task at hand in favor of relying only on the words of officials.
The prosecution said that it will continue to debate what it needs to investigate further.
The investigation should be focused on finding out who was responsible for the destruction of the evidence and what information those computers contained.
If prosecutors rush to close the case without a full and thorough investigation, they will have no valid response when people accuse them of being incompetent or of trying to shield the suspects.