Constitutional Court set to rule on impeachment motion of ex-judge accused of trial meddling

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Constitutional Court set to rule on impeachment motion of ex-judge accused of trial meddling
Judge Lim Seong-geun (Yonhap)The Constitutional Court was set to rule Thursday on whether to accept the National Assembly’s impeachment of a judge, now retired, accused of meddling in politically sensitive trials chaired by other judges during the previous administration.

The National Assembly voted on Feb. 4 to impeach Lim Seong-geun, then a judge at the Busan High Court, for allegedly meddling in several sensitive cases in the past, most notably a libel case filed by the former Park Geun-hye government against a Japanese journalist in 2015.

It marked the first time that a sitting judge was impeached in South Korea.

Lim’s duties were immediately suspended, but he retired later that month as his term expired.

Lim had previously been indicted on the same charges that he meddled in several trials presided over by other judges between 2015 and 2016 while serving at the Seoul Central District Court, including influencing the libel case against the Japanese journalist.

The journalist was accused of libel for published a newspaper column questioning then President Park’s whereabouts at the moment of the deadly sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014. The journalist was ultimately found not guilty.

Lim was cleared of the charges in a district court trial and a high court trial.

Lim has denied the allegations and insisted that he merely offered advice to fellow judges as a colleague.

Two previous motions of impeachment against Supreme Court judges were proposed in 1985 and 2009, but the motions were voted down or scrapped at the National Assembly. (Yonhap)

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