Doosan Bears’ Lee Young-ha, 26, was acquitted of charges of special assault, coercion, and extortion by the Seoul West District Court on March 31.
Earlier, Lee and LG Twins’ Kim Dae-hyun, 26, were investigated and put on trial for allegedly committing bullying against a junior while attending Sunlin Internet High School. Kim Dae-hyun, who was a soldier at the time of his indictment, was acquitted by the 1st Regional Military Court in January of this year, citing insufficient evidence to prove the charges. Lee was acquitted for the same reason. The prosecution filed an appeal on Friday, claiming mistake of fact and misunderstanding of law.
The case began when a junior on Kim’s high school baseball team filed a report with the Sports Ethics Center that he had been subjected to bullying in the past, which the center reviewed and requested an investigation. The police and prosecutors then prosecuted the case, leading to a criminal trial. At the time of the indictment, the two athletes strongly denied the allegations. They also said that the prosecution was conscious of the statute of limitations as they were charged only two weeks after the police referred them to the prosecution.
After the acquittal, the defense pointed out that the Sports Ethics Center had referred the case to an investigative agency without properly filtering it, that the police were overwhelmed and did not investigate properly, and that the prosecution did not investigate the players because the statute of limitations was about to expire.
As I watched the verdict and the interview with the defense attorney, I thought, “What if the police had investigated the basic details of the report, such as the time and place of the report and the absence of the person concerned, in more detail? The interviews of the defense attorneys also seemed to express regret about the case rather than complaining about the complainant, the Sports Ethics Center, and the investigative agency. So, what can be done to improve these regrets?
First, it is necessary to secure the expertise of the Sports Ethics Center. The National Sports Promotion Act established the Sports Ethics Center to secure fairness in sports and protect the human rights of athletes, and the Center was launched in August 2020. The Sports Ethics Center receives and investigates reports of human rights violations and irregularities in sports, and provides support to complainants and victims. The Center is also responsible for investigating human rights violations in the field of sports and preventing human rights violations and irregularities in sports. If it determines that there is a suspicion through its investigation, it has enough power and status to file a complaint with the investigative agency or request disciplinary action from the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The question is, can the Sports Ethics Center fulfill this role? According to the National Sports Promotion Act, consultations and reports on 스포츠토토 human rights violations and irregularities in sports are concentrated at the Sports Ethics Center, so experts and facilities are needed to handle them. This is especially true if the victim does not immediately report to the investigative agency, as the sports ethics center may be the only place to intervene in the early stages of the case. It is worth noting that academics and practitioners have advocated for special law enforcement officers in sports ethics centers.
A thorough investigation by law enforcement is also necessary. Particularly when investigations are commissioned by other organizations, such as the Center, there is a risk of misdirection and omissions. It is important that the investigation is conducted in a timely manner, and that the accusations are accurately documented and investigated, as the individuals involved may have already been subjected to an initial investigation and may be hiding or denying the allegations.
Accurate and prompt investigations and judgments are important for both the complainant and the accused. If there is an actual human rights violation or irregularity, it is important to correct it and repair the damage, and if there is no such thing, to clear the accused as soon as possible, both of which are the roles of the Sports Ethics Center and investigative agencies.