Korea's former Supreme Court Justice Yang Sung-tae, who served as the head of the judiciary department from 2011 to 2017, defended himself and the court system on Friday, in front of his previous workplace, the Supreme Court.
Addressing the public, he denied the allegations against him, but apologized for what had happened during his term and said that he is willing to take responsibility.
"The majority of our judges have been fulfilling their duties with their hearts dedicated to the public.
I believe that my fellow judges who are related to the probe did not work against the law and their conscience.
But even if they are found guilty, It's my fault so I will take responsibility for it."
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His speech at the top court was an unprecedented move, as majority of those who are brought in for questioning, including former Presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak, had to stand before the "photo line" in front of the prosecutors' office to answer questions from reporters.
Opposing such action, hundreds of people from various civic groups and labor unions gathered on the road between the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor's office, protesting and demanding Yang's arrest.
Friday's remarks came seven months after Yang denied all allegations against him last June, claiming the court's ruling is sacred and that it should not be denigrated.
Yang has been accused of some 40 offenses including using trials as bargaining chips in dealings with the previous Park Geun-hye administration to achieve his long-envisioned plan of establishing a separate court of appeals.
Those trials include ones filed by Korean plaintiffs against Japanese firms that forced them into labor during World War 2.
Yang is also accused of creating a blacklist of judges based on their political leanings and of leaking confidential information.
(STANDUP) ed: mark
"Facing such serious charges, the prosecution’s questioning of the ex-chief justice is expected to stretch well into the night .
Prosecutors are even considering summoning Yang back at least twice so they can dig through all allegations."
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.