S.Korean court rejects arrest warrants for ex-top court justices over power abuse

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-07 10:40:17|Editor: Li Xia
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SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- A South Korean court on Friday rejected prosecutors' request to issue arrest warrants for two former top court justices over their alleged involvement in a judiciary power abuse scandal believed to embroil a former Supreme Court chief justice.

The Seoul Central District Court decided not to put into custody Park Byong-dae and Ko Young-han, former Supreme Court justices who faced multiple charges such as abuse of power and obstruction of justice, before indictment by prosecutors.

Prosecutors sought arrest warrants for Park and Ko on Monday, marking the first time in the country's history that the writs were requested against former top court judges.

Park, 61, served as the chief of the highest court's administrative affairs body for two years through February 2016. He was accused of having engaged in the so-called "trial dealings," in which the top court ruled in the politically and diplomatically sensitive trials in favor of the policy directions of impeached President Park Geun-hye.

In return for it, then Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae allegedly sought to win Park Geun-hye's approval for the establishment of a separate court of appeals, known to have been a long dream of Yang.

Ko, 63, who succeeded Park as the chief of the top court's administrative body from February 2016 to May 2017, was also charged with abusing judiciary power to intervene in the rulings by lower courts.

Dismissing the request to arrest Park and Ko, the Seoul court said doubts remained about whether there had been a collusion between them and Lee Jong-hun, a former deputy chief of the top court's administrative body who was already put under custody and indicted last month over his involvement in the judiciary power abuse scandal.