Prosecutors have filed an appeal against Choi Jong Bum, and the case will be taken by the Supreme Court.
On July 8th, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office filed an appeal against the case ruling of Choi Jong Bum who assaulted and threatened the late singer, Hara. They filed the appeal on the issues of Choi Jong Bum being ruled innocent on the charges of secretly filming and taking photos of Hara without consent.
Lawyer Roh Jong Eon, the legal representative of the bereaved family of Hara, stated "I hope that the Supreme Court is able to empathize with the victim and understand that filming or taking photos without consent can leave irreversible damage to the victim. We hope that the Supreme Court is able to deliver a just sentencing."
He added, "What's most important in a sexual assault case is the victim. I truly hope that the precedent of trials going about in favor of the perpetrator changes through this opportunity."
On September 2019, Choi Jong Bum was put on trial on charges of assaulting Hara and threatening her to "distribute sex videos of her." He was also accused of secretly filming those videos and taking photos without her consent and forcing Hara to "kneel and apologize in front of the head of the agency."
However, despite the appeal of Hara's lawyer, Choi Jong Bum was only found guilty of assault, intimidation, coercion, and damage of property during the first trial. He was found innocent of filming and taking photos without consent. Choi Jong Bum claimed he had filmed those videos with Hara's consent. As a result, Choi Jong Bum was only sentenced to one and a half years in prison and put on probation for three years.
Thereafter, Choi Jong Bum was ultimately sentenced to one year in prison during the appeal trial which took place on the 2nd of this month. The court stated "Sexual intercourse is the most intimate area of privacy. Threatening to distribute the footage taken of it would cause irreparable mental damage to the victim or negatively affect the victim's reputation."
The court also made a decision for Choi Jong Bum to remain in the court's custody due to the possibility of him fleeing. However, Choi Jong Bum was again found innocent on the charges of secretly filming.
The court judged that "the evidence submitted by the prosecutor alone cannot prove that the video was filmed against the victim's will."
In response to the ruling at the time, the bereaved families appealed stating, "We really feel resentful and it is unfair for our family when the perpetrator is acquitted of illegal filming charges and sentenced to only one year in prison."