ID :
Mon, 11/17/2008 - 11:12
Auther :

Supreme Court ends decade-long dispute, orders lawmaker to pay fine

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- The Supreme Court has ordered a labor party lawmaker
to pay a fine for his leading role in street protests during the mid-1990s,
ending protracted litigation that was impeded by elections and changing laws, the
court said Monday.

The top court affirmed an appeals court ruling against Rep. Kwon Young-ghil,
which in 2006 lifted a suspended prison sentence imposed in 2001 and instead
fined him 15 million won (US$10,707).
Kwon was accused of violating the Labor Dispute Adjustment Act when he led street
demonstrations in 1994 and 1995 as the head of an undocumented labor
organization. The law barred third parties -- organizations separate from
employees, their unions or their employers -- from meddling in labor disputes,
which was later found to be against international labor standards was abolished
at the end of 1996.
After leading the labor organization, which was later officially registered as
the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, until 1997, Kwon turned to politics,
joining the newly founded Democratic Labor Party.
In 2001, a district court found Kwon guilty of violating the labor dispute law
and sentenced him to eight months in prison, with a two-year suspension.
Kwon appealed, but hearings in the appeals court were frequently delayed due to
election seasons.
Five years later, the high court overruled the lower court verdict, noting that
the pertinent law had since been abolished. Kwon's penalty was reduced to a 15
million won fine.
Kwon appealed again, but the top court dismissed it and affirmed the appeals
court verdict.
"The fact that the defendant made decisions or transferred them to other members
for a nationwide strike or mutual support between labor unions amounts to an
activity that could hamper independent decision-making between the unions and the
employers," Presiding Justice Cha Han-sung said in the verdict.