Shin-gate Defendants in Forlorn First Court Appearance

    November 13, 2007 09:59

    Former presidential secretary for national policy Byeon Yang-kyoon and the disgraced curator Shin Jeong-ah appeared in court for their first hearing on Monday.

    The two, who allegedly have an adulterous relationship, sat down in the dock some 30 cm apart without looking at each other, the first time they have been seen together in public since a scandal surrounding Shin’s forgery of her degree certificate and Byeon’s promotion of her career broke. Prosecutors on Oct. 30 said the two were in a secret relationship for more than four years.

    A court sketch of the first hearing of former presidential secretary Byeon Yang-kyoon and the disgraced curator Shin Jeong-ah at the Seoul Western District Court on Monday.

    Dressed in prison blues, the ex-presidential secretary apologized in barely more than a whisper for causing trouble to President Roh Moo-hyun, his former colleagues and the public. “I reflect on my actions every day in jail,” he said. Asked if he denied the charges, Byeon briefly said he would answer the question after consulting with his lawyer and later presented a statement denying all the charges to the bench.

    Shin, an ex-Dongguk University assistant professor, entered the courtroom with a flushed face and a green prison uniform. Asked if she had anything to say, Shin apologized for causing trouble to society and added she would reflect on her misconduct. The 25-minute hearing ended after the two made their statements. Ten seats had been prepared for the families of Byeon and Shin in the spectator section, but none turned up.

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