Judge Oh Deon Shik is under heavy controversy for watching Hara’s sex tape, which many deemed to be completely unnecessary. Kim Byung Soo, the chief criminal officer of the Seoul Central District Court recently sent out an email to all the judges in the district stating that “the situation in which Judge Oh checked the video was unavoidable” and that “although the lawyer opposed this decision, it has been revealed that Judge Oh checked the video in the judges’ chambers is different from the truth.” A different judge presided the case last July in Oh’s place but the rumors had already spread to SNS, leading in a storm of criticism and anger. The issue has since been revived, leading to netizens and news headlines discussing the issue as new details emerge.
Reports state that Hara's ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong Bum, not only threatened to release the sex tape, but also demanded the CEO of Hara’s label to apologize while kneeling before him and, against the wishes of Hara’s doctor, proceeded the trial for illegal filming. In court, Choi stated: “I am in 90% of the video and am not wearing clothes while Hara is wearing clothes. There is nothing I could threaten her with.” This is when Judge Oh stated that he would need to check the video and requested to see the video in private. Kim Byung Soo stated: “It must have been an inevitable choice (Judge Oh), because it is important for the threats to be judged guilty or innocent order to have an impact on sentencing.” However, a charge held against Choi for illegal filming was due to a different video that was also submitted as evidence.
Hara’s lawyer vehemently opposed Judge Oh’s decision, stating: “Even though it’s in a private setting, I am opposed to many people being able to see reproductions of this video, and it’s hard to take. This is a second round of assault.” This led to the judge agreeing to watch the video in the judge’s chambers after asking the examining officers to make sure the video does not get released and watched a copy delivered directly to himself. However, after watching the video, Judge Oh rejected Choi’s claims and sentenced him guilty to blackmail, saying that his claims were false. Oh eventually ruled that although consent was not explicitly given to take the video, it was hard to say that it was taken without her consent, therefore leading to no charges being filed for illegal filming. Netizen anger at the judge has since been growing.
Netizen comments on this issue state:
"Do you sleep well at night?"
"Hara, it must have been so hard to go through all this. I hope you're resting well."
"You wouldn't do this even if you were an obstetrician."
Many argue that Judge Oh unnecessarily viewed the video, as Hara would receive harm even if she was clothed in the video. However, it is clear that Korea still has a lot of work to do regarding its’ laws protecting women who are victims of sex crimes. Choi’s trial will take place on May 21st, and Hara’s brother has begged for justice and logic to be used to give a fair sentence.