Posted : 2012-04-17 19:21
Updated : 2012-04-17 19:21

Top Seoul educator gets 1-year jail term

Kwak No-hyun, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, enters Seoul High Court in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, Tuesday. Kwak was given a oneyear jail term by the appellate court after it upheld a guilty verdict on him for bribing a rival candidate for the city’s top educator post.
/ Korea Times photo
by Kim Ju-sung
By Kim Rahn

Seoul’s top educator Kwak No-hyun was given a one-year jail term at an appeals court hearing on charges of bribing a rival candidate in the election for top educator post.

However, the progressive-minded educator will retain his superintendent post at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education until the Supreme Court makes a final decision.

The Seoul High Court Tuesday sentenced Kwak to one year in prison, while upholding a lower court guilty verdict.

Kwak was accused of offering 200 million won to professor Park Myoung-gee of Seoul National University of Education through aides in exchange for Park’s withdrawal from the election in June 2010. He was suspended from duty last September but returned to work in January after the lower court only fined him 30 million won ($26,300) without a jail term.

“A sum of 200 million won is a huge amount compared to other bribes in previous Election Law violations. We also rule that Kwak gave the money in exchange for his rival dropping out the election, so the lower court’s punishment was too light,” presiding Judge Kim Dong-oh said.

“Offering or exchanging money in return for the withdrawal from an election is a serious crime that damages the fairness of the election. Such a deal is especially unjustifiable for the election to select a top educator, who has to lead the region’s education,” he said.

If the Supreme Court confirms either the lower court verdict or the high court one, Kwak will be stripped of the post as any civil servant or elected official is removed from office if fined more than 1 million won or given a jail term. He will also have to return 3.5 billion won he received from the National Election Commission as campaign expenses.

The liberal-minded educator was unhappy with the verdict. “The ruling is not understandable. Nothing has changed about the facts, but the court just sought a heavier penalty to keep balance with the term for Park,” Kwak said.

“I hope the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court will find the ultimate truth and deliver justice,” he added.

He has claimed he didn’t know about the “deal” when Park dropped out of the race and the 200 million won he gave was out of “goodwill” as the latter was suffering financial difficulties.

The top court ruling is expected to come around July.

In Park’s case, the appeals court handed down an 18-month prison term and a 200 million won fine, reducing the lower court verdict of three years in jail.

“His wrongdoing is grave as he kept pressing Kwak to pay money. But he lowered his demand to 300 million won from 700 million won after thinking Kwak might have not known about the cash-for-candidacy deal which their subordinates made. Park also contributed a lot to the educational sector for over a decade, so the original punishment was too heavy,” the judge said.

For professor Kang Kyung-seon of Korea National Open University who delivered the money from Kwak to Park, the court upheld the lower court ruling of a 20 million won fine.
관련 한글 기사

곽노현 실형… 교육감직은 유지

법정구속은 하지 않는 '조건부 실형'

후보자 매수 혐의로 1심에서 벌금형을 선고받은 곽노현 서울시교육감이 항소심에서 징연 1년을 선고받았다. 그러나 대법원에서 판결이 확정될때까지 법정구속은 하지 않는 조건부 실형이어서 곽 교육감은 일단 교육감직은 유지하게 됐다.

서울고법 형사합의2부(김동오 부장판사)는 17일 2억원을 건네 상대 후보를 매수한 혐의로 기소된 곽노현(58) 서울시 교육감에 대한 항소심에서 벌금 3천만원을 선고한 원심을 파기하고 징역 1년을 선고했다.

재판부는 "2억원이라는 금액은 역대 공직선거법 위반 사례에 비춰 거액이고 교육감이 자신의 안위를 위해 후보 사퇴 대가로 돈을 지급한 점이 인정돼 원심 형량은 너무 가벼워 부당하다"고 판결이유를 밝혔다.

재판부는 그러나 상고심을 고려해 대법원 판결이 확정될 때까지 법정구속은 하지 않기로 해 곽 교육감은 직무를 수행할 수 있다.

대법원까지 벌금형 100만원 이상의 형량이 유지돼 확정되면 선거법 조항에 따라 당선 무효가 돼 곽 교육감은 교육감직을 상실하게 된다. 또 선관위에서 보전받은 선거비용 35억2천만원도 반납해야 한다.

재판부는 돈을 받은 박명기(54) 서울교대 교수에게는 징역 3년을 선고한 원심을 파기하고 징역 1년 6개월 및 추징금 2억원을 선고했다.

재판부는 "수 차례에 걸쳐 곽 교육감에게 금전 지급 요구를 하는 등 엄중히 처벌해야하나 '곽 교육감이 합의 내용에 대해 몰랐을 수도 있다'고 생각한 뒤 요구 금액을 7억원에서 3억원으로 낮췄으며, 12년간 교육위원으로 재직하며 교육계에 기여한 점 등을 고려할 때 원심의 양형은 너무 무거워서 부당하다"고 판결 이유를 설명했다.

중간에서 돈을 전달한 강경선(59) 한국방송통신대 교수에게는 원심과 같이 벌금 2천만원을 선고했다.

곽 교육감은 법정을 나서면서 "도저히 납득할 수 없는 판결이다. 사실관계는 전혀 바뀌지 않았는데 양형에서 기계적 균형을 맞춘 판결이다"라고 2심 판결을 비판한 뒤 "대법원과 헌법재판소에서 궁극적인 진실과 정의를 밝힐 것을 확신한다"고 말했다.

곽 교육감의 변호인 박재영 변호사는 "재판부가 사실관계를 제대로 파악하지 못했다면 '무지'이고 사실관계를 제대로 파악했음에도 오늘 같은 선고를 내렸다면 '용기없음'이다"라고 입장을 밝혔다. (연합뉴스)

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