Park Resists Warrant to Testify in Another Trial
Du Ri Jang, June 1, 2017, 9:37 a.m.
Disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday resisted a warrant compelling her to testify in the trial of former Cheong Wa Dae security staffer Lee Young-sun. The Seoul Central District Court issued the arrest warrant on Tuesday but rescind it after the standoff on the grounds that she "appears unable to testify under present circumstances."
Park is separately on trial on 18 criminal charges in the same court.
Assistant independent counsel Jang Sung-wook told the court on Wednesday, "We tried to apprehend the witness, but she put up an unexpectedly strong resistance citing her health."
"We tried for about an hour to convince her to obey the warrant but were unable to enforce it," Jang added, "She is a woman and a former president, so we believed it was not proper to use physical force to execute the warrant and ended up leaving."
According to sources in the independent counsel's team, Park argued that she had to appear in two consecutive court sessions on Monday and Tuesday and has a tough time sitting for long periods due to back pain.
The court then decided to cancel Park's selection as a witness because there is no guarantee that she will ever turn up.
The former security staffer is on trial for allowing Park's gaggle of quack doctors to perform unauthorized medical procedures on her in the presidential compound. He denies the charges.
The independent counsel also named Park as a witness in the trial of de facto Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong for bribing her. But court officials believe Park will keep refusing to testify since obstruction has so far been her sole defense strategy.
A prosecution source said, "In principle we can bring witnesses to court by force if we have a warrant, but there are cases where arrests are not made on humanitarian grounds, like when the witness cites health reasons."