Victim’s family loses lawsuit against opposition leader over his remarks about murder by nephew

Lee Jae-myung, chair of the Democratic Party of Korea, attends a party event in Seoul, March 12. Yonhap

Lee Jae-myung, chair of the Democratic Party of Korea, attends a party event in Seoul, March 12. Yonhap

An appellate court ruled in favor of leader Lee Jae-myung of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea on Tuesday in a lawsuit that the family of those killed by one of his nephews filed against Lee for referring to the killings as “dating violence.”

Lee’s nephew, surnamed Kim, stabbed his girlfriend and her mother to death in 2006 after she told him she was breaking up with him. Kim was sentenced by the top court to life in prison, with Lee, a lawyer by profession, defending his nephew during the first two court rulings.

As the history became controversial during the previous presidential race, then candidate Lee wrote online that a relative committed serious “dating violence” and he was forced to defend him in court because of the economic difficulties facing the relative’s family.

The victims’ bereaved family filed the suit seeking 100 million won ($76,310) in compensation, accusing Lee of describing “abominable serial murders as dating violence.”

A district court ruled in favor of Lee, concluding that his expression neither distorted the damage caused by his nephew’s crime nor unjustly infringed upon the bereaved family’s commemoration of the victims.

The appellate bench of the Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday upheld the previous ruling but provided no detailed reasoning for the decision. Lee did not attend the court session as neither the plaintiff nor the defendant are required to do so in a civil case. (Yonhap)

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