Key issues surrounding the first trial verdict of Pastor Jung Myung-seok of the Christian Gospel Mission

Pastor Jung’s defense team argue, “Without direct evidence, it deviates from the principle of presumption of innocence and an evidence-based trial.”

“It’s incomprehensible to have such a heavy sentence imposed in a medieval witch-hunt style trial by framing things as heresy”

They claim, “The trial proceeded without clear proof of the concept of ‘brainwashing,’ which is the fundamental premise of the charges.”

Second News Team

  • Approved on 2024-02-08 13:08
  • The original article can be found here.

View in front of the Daejeon District Court.

On December 22 last year, a heavy sentence of 23 years, exceeding the Supreme Court’s sentencing guidelines, was handed down in the first trial verdict against Pastor Jung Myung-seok of the Christian Gospel Mission (JMS), bringing to light the key issues surrounding the first trial verdict.

On the 8th, Pastor Jung Myung-seok’s attorney stated, “Pastor Jung has consistently claimed his innocence and appealed against the injustice, yet the court, despite the lack of direct evidence, conducted a trial swayed by public opinion rather than a trial based on the principle of presumption of innocence and evidence-based jurisprudence.”

They added, “In a 21st-century democratic society, it is incomprehensible and devastating that Pastor Jung and the Christian Gospel Mission were framed as heretics and subjected to a medieval witch-hunt style religious trial, resulting in a heavy sentence of 23 years.”

Furthermore, they explained, “After the first trial verdict, the prosecution and broadcast media claimed there were numerous sexual offenses committed by Pastor Jung. However, a closer look at the trial content and its proceedings reveals immediate issues with the accusations, the charges, and the trial procedures.”

The defense argued, “Several aspects of Pastor Jung’s trial are questionable, including the fact that the accusers filed their complaints about four years after the alleged sexual offenses occurred, the absence of any direct evidence such as DNA, the high possibility of manipulation and contamination of the evidence such as the audio recordings, and the lack of credibility in the accusers’ statements. Despite these issues, the prosecution sought a heavy sentence for Pastor Jung as if he were a criminal who had committed murder in the most heinous manner. This is a result of severe compromise to procedural justice in the courtroom, driven by strong biases against ‘religion and sexual offenses’.”

One of the issues raised by the defense is the validity of the premise underlying the charges against Pastor Jung, which is whether the accusers were brainwashed.

The accusers led lives far removed from being isolated or cut off from society, freely traveling abroad and sometimes not attending church for a month depending on their mood. To brainwash church members, it would be necessary to indoctrinate them, but these individuals were already living outside the teachings, questioning the possibility of brainwashing. The defense explained, “None of the premises of the charges have been proven. Therefore, legally, the charges have not been substantiated.”

The defense also argued that the prosecution violated the ‘principle of clarity,’ which is a major principle of criminal law interpretation under the legality principle of criminal law.

The case proceeded without clear proof of the concept of ‘brainwashing,’ which is the fundamental premise of the charges. The defense pointed out, “Defining the act based on the unclear concepts of ‘brainwashing and inability to resist’ that are outside the law directly contradicts the principle of clarity under the legality principle of criminal law.”

Furthermore, “Considering that the majority of the Christian Gospel Mission members are leading normal social lives, the claim of brainwashing is baseless. Especially when looking at the accusers’ free private lives, it’s an unfounded claim. The acceptance of religious views cannot be seen as a violation of the right to self-determination, which also means it cannot be considered brainwashing,” it was stated.

Additionally, “The prosecution has specified ‘inability to resist’ in the indictment, yet the prosecutor has made no mention of any extraordinary circumstances where resistance was impossible or significantly difficult. Therefore, such claims by the prosecutor should be rejected,” it was argued.

Along with this, the defense stated, “In Pastor Jung’s trial, the ‘legality principle in criminal law’ and the ‘principle of presumption of innocence’ were also not upheld.”

The defense emphasized, “All the charges in this case are based on the premise of ‘brainwashing,’ but the accusers were not brainwashed. There is no decisive direct evidence other than the statements of the accusers. Therefore, there is no proof of the crime in this case, and the constitutional ‘principle of presumption of innocence’ must be observed.”

The defense also raised objections to the content of the prosecution’s indictment. The core issue is that there were claims made without proof. The defense stated, “For example, while claiming ‘brainwashing,’ the indictment does not specify the brainwasher, nor does it detail the time, place, or subjects of the brainwashing act, and it also fails to mention from whom, when, and where the accusers were supposedly brainwashed.”

The defense argued, “What is important is whether the criminal facts regarding Pastor Jung have been proven. Since they have not been proven, he is innocent.”

Digital News Department

Joongdo News(

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