JMS Jeong Myeong-seok quasi-rape victim audio recording verification dispute… The court is scheduled to conduct additional investigations related to the claim of incapacity to resist.

* The original article can be accessed here.

Kang Eun-sun Reporter | Written on May 30, 2024

In the appeal trial of Jeong Myeong-seok (79), president of the Christian Gospel Mission (JMS), who was indicted on charges including the quasi-rape of female followers, the prosecution and Jeong’s defense team clashed over the verification of an audio recording.

On the 30th, during the second trial on charges including indecent assault, false accusation, and quasi-rape against Jeong, held at the 3rd Criminal Division of the Daejeon High Court, Jeong’s side argued that an assessment by a private expert was necessary to determine whether the audio recording had been edited, forged, or altered. This audio recording, submitted by the prosecution as evidence of the crime, was made by the victim, Maple (29), during the quasi-rape incident.

On the other hand, the prosecution countered, saying, “Given the numerous instances where the defendant Jeong Myeong-seok and his former lawyers have induced witnesses to provide false statements, there is a possibility of bribing or manipulating the expert, making it difficult to accept an assessment by a private expert.”

Jeong’s defense lawyer argued, “As a result of requesting an expert forensic institution to examine the audio file that the police claimed to had been collected through seizure and that had underwent the National Forensic Service’s analysis using the same method, it was found that the hash values were different.

Furthermore, he argued, “The audio file we requested to be analyzed is 97 minutes long, but when you look at what was released on JTBC or Netflix, it was edited down to about 1 to 3 minutes to suit their production purposes. The victim submitted the same audio file to the investigative agency, which raises suspicion that this 97-minute audio file might also have been similarly edited and fabricated.”

The prosecution argued, “The police received the victim’s audio file through ‘AirDrop,’ a method used by iPhone users to share files, and there was a process of transferring the file via the police’s official phone, which is why the hash values are different. The difference in hash values alone does not render the evidence inadmissible.”

The prosecution further countered, “Regarding the different hash values of the audio file presented by the defense and the analysis results from the National Forensic Service, there is an expert opinion stating that if the manufacturing countries of the phones, such as Hong Kong and Korea, are different, the hash values and the structure of the audio file could also differ.” The court, in agreement with the defense, plans to conduct both an official examination designated by the court and an assessment by a private expert, and will also request file analysis from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.

On this day, evidence was also examined regarding the main issue of the appeal trial: whether there was “brainwashing and incapacity to resist.” The court plans to conduct a witness examination of the expert on June 11 before the official examination and will continue with additional evidence investigation on June 25.

Meanwhile, the prosecution requested the court to consider retrieving the leaked audio files if evidence confirms their exposure within the congregation during the trial that day. Jeong’s defense lawyer countered, stating, “Although JMS officials listened alongside to the recording, it was merely a form of verification to challenge its evidential value, not a leak.” The court decided to review whether the audio files should be retrieved.

Earlier, in the first trial, Jeong was sentenced to 23 years in prison on charges of sexually assaulting two overseas female followers, Maple from Hong Kong and Amy from Australia, and he appealed the decision.

Daejeon, Kang Eun-sun, Reporter

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