Family Block Forensic Analysis of Late Mayor's Phone

  • By Kwon Soon-wan, Cho Yoo-mi, Yang Seung-joo

    July 31, 2020 13:34

    The family of late Seoul mayor Park Won-soon have asked a court to block forensic analysis of his mobile phone after he killed himself over sexual harassment allegations.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said the Seoul Northern District Court partly granted the request, halting analysis of the phone which was already in progress.

    Park's family applied for the injunction on July 24, two days after police cracked his password, apparently with the help of his accuser. The court ordered the phone to be sealed temporarily.

    Police had been investigating Park's official-use iPhone, which was discovered next to his body on a mountainside near his residence. But a court refused a search warrant because the suspect is dead, and police were only allowed to use whatever information they could find to determine the cause of death.

    They were not authorized to search the phone in their investigation of the sexual harassment allegations from a former secretary. Park had two more mobile phones that police have not been able to access.

    Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea decided Thursday to investigate the allegations and look into whether the Seoul Metropolitan Government ignored her pleas for help.

    The decision came two days after the accuser and a women's rights group asked the commission to handle the investigation. If the commission finds evidence of illegality, it can ask police to investigate.

    Some are accusing the commission of dragging its heels. According to law, the commission can start an investigation without a request if there is considerable evidence pointing to a human rights violation.

    The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on Thursday announced the results its own probe into the city government's handling of the sexual harassment claims, but only cited a failure by City Hall officials to provide support for the alleged victim and called for more active steps, such as coming up with guidelines to punish officials who are guilty of such negligence and to prevent a recurrence.

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