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Impeachment trial to begin next week for judge in abuse of power case

16:20 February 17, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- An impeachment trial for judge Lim Seong-geun will start next Friday, the Constitutional Court said Wednesday, just two days before he retires as a judge.

The court said it will hold a pretrial preparation session where both sides set forth their main arguments and a list of evidence, and discuss how to proceed with the upcoming trial.

The National Assembly led by the ruling Democratic Party voted to impeach Lim earlier this month for allegedly meddling in several politically sensitive trials during the previous administration.

Currently a senior judge at the Busan High Court, Lee became the nation's first judge to be impeached.

Lim was indicted in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of other judges' exercising of rights after allegedly meddling in several trials presided by them between 2015 and 2016 while working as a senior judge at the Seoul Central District Court.

In particular, he was accused of exerting his authority to step in and influence a libel case filed by the former government against a Japanese journalist in 2015. The Seoul-based journalist published a column questioning then President Park Geun-hye's whereabouts at the moment of the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol the previous year.

In February last year, a Seoul court acquitted Lim of the power abuse and other charges but still acknowledged his "unconstitutional act" of meddling in trials.

While it is widely expected in the judicial circle that the court will dismiss the case citing jurisdiction over a retired judge, it is still possible that the court could pronounce on the constitutionality of his action.

The undated file photo shows judge Lim Seong-geun. (Yonhap)


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