Appeal by lawmaker rejected by Seoul court

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Appeal by lawmaker rejected by Seoul court

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The Seoul Western District Court rejected an appeal yesterday by Representative Kang Yong-seok, who sparked controversy last year by making sexually inappropriate remarks at a dinner with university students. The court ruled that Kang’s original sentence of six months in prison and a year of probation should stand.

Last July, the JoongAng Ilbo reported that Kang made lewd remarks in a conversation with about 20 university students and told one female student, who aspired to be broadcasting anchor, that she would have to “go all the way” to succeed.

“By taking into account the evidence from the first trial, Kang is guilty of making such remarks to a university student,” the court said. “We judged that [Kang’s remarks] may debase the social appraisal of anchor women.”

In response to the JoongAng Ilbo’s report, Kang filed a defamation suit against the newspaper and its reporter, which the newspaper countered. Though both sides dropped their suits in April, the court still commented on it. “All quotes used by the reporter were true and based on testimonies by university students who attended the dinner,” it said. “It is hard to see the report as an ‘act of ill intention.’ ”

The court also disagreed with Kang’s argument that his punishment was unjustly severe, saying “the ruling of the first trial was appropriate because Kang has high social standing and such remarks from him can have great social repercussions.”

“[Kang’s action of] falsely accusing the reporter of fabrication to defend himself was also taken into account before rejecting the appeal,” the court added. Under the National Public Service Law, public servants sentenced to imprisonment must resign. So, if Kang makes no more appeals and the current ruling is finalized, he will lose his seat. The lawmaker was formerly affiliated with the ruling Grand National Party but was expelled because of his remarks.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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