Number of defendants fleeing on the rise
The number of defendants being held without detention but fleeing overseas while their court cases were pending has been increasing in the past few years, according to the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office.
The court’s supervision of the whereabouts of the accused is slack, according to the officials. The number of those who fled stood at eight in 2007 and rose to 58 in 2008. In 2009, 57 defendants fled and the number was 20 as of this past July.
“The principle of holding trials without detention is becoming more widespread at the moment, but there is no system that can prevent the negative side effects,” said an official with the prosecutors’ office.
“When the accused flee overseas, the likelihood of failing to fulfill the purpose of law, which includes social punishment and compensation for the victims, soars,” said Park Eun-jae of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
“Prohibiting the defendants from leaving the country goes against the institution of bail. Therefore, the Supreme Court has to take more stringent measures regarding the management of the accused without detention.”
A court official refuted the claim. “It is absurd to pass on the responsibility to the court, which has no right to ban the defendants from leaving the country,” said the official.
“As more people go on overseas trips, the number of cases abusing loopholes in the management system of the accused without detention is on the increase,” said Park Gyeong-nae, a researcher at Korean Institute of Criminology. “It is urgent to clarify the responsibility over the supervision of defendants without imprisonment.”
By Choe Sun-uk [firstname.lastname@example.org]