Anchor: A Seoul court rejected requests for arrest warrants for two former Supreme Court justices over their alleged involvement in a massive power abuse scandal under the leadership of former top court chief Yang Sung-tae. The court said the charges against them were not substantiated enough to require pre-indictment detention.
Our Lee Bo-kyung has this story.
Report: The Seoul Central District Court on Friday turned down prosecutors' warrant requests for Park Byong-dae and Ko Young-han, who face a slew of charges including abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
The warrant requests for Park and Ko were reviewed by two different judges, but they dismissed them citing room for doubt over the scope of the suspects' involvement and collusion in the alleged crimes.
The judges also said it's hard to acknowledge the need to place the suspects in custody considering that extensive evidence has already been collected in relation to the power abuse scandal under the leadership of former top court chief Yang Sung-tae.
Park and Ko, the former National Court Administration(NCA) chiefs, are accused of interfering in trials in order to lobby the presidential office of then President Park Geun-hye for the establishment of a separate court of appeals, led by Yang.
They are also suspected of blacklisting judges critical of the NCA, the Supreme Court's administrative body, or certain trial proceedings between 2014 and 2017.
Prosecutors believe that Yang is at the center of the massive judicial power abuse scandal and interfered in sensitive trials in collusion with Ko and Park as well as former NCA Deputy Chief Lim Jong-hun, who has been in detention since late October.
However, the court did not recognize collusion among the four, striking a significant blow to the prosecution’s plan to pursue Yang after arresting Ko and Park.
Prosecutors strongly protested the court's dismissal, saying that it's common sense to hold superiors responsible and that the court's move will block their efforts to get to the bottom of the anti-constitutional crimes.
The prosecution plans to closely examine the court’s reasons for the rejection and decide whether to request the warrants again.
Lee Bo-kyung, KBS World Radio News.