Court acquits woman charged with attempted rape for first time

August 21, 2015

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A court on Saturday acquitted a woman indicted on charges of attempted rape for the first time in the country.

Judge Lee Dong-geun of the Seoul Central District Court said he accepted the jury’s unanimous decision that the 45-year-old woman is not guilty.

The ruling came after a 15-hour jury deliberation that finished before dawn on Saturday.

Under South Korean law, decisions from a jury are not legally binding but the court is required to respect them as much as possible.

The woman, identified only by her surname Jeon, was indicted in August for drugging her ex-boyfriend, tying him up and trying to rape him. She was also charged with striking him with a hammer when he woke up.

Jeon was the first woman accused of attempted rape since the criminal law was modified to prosecute both male and female offenders in June 2013. South Korea had applied rape charges only against men prior to the change.

Prosecutors demanded a sentence of four and a half years in jail along with medical treatment while in custody.

Jeon admitted to drugging the victim, tying him up and yielding the hammer, but said that she had no intention to rape him.

Her lawyer argued that she tied him up out of fear when the man, who allegedly had habitually assaulted her, visited her that night, and she yielded the hammer when he assaulted her upon waking up.

Jeon, who has lived alone for most of her life, met the man, who was married to another woman, in 2010 and has since been a victim of domestic violence, according to the lawyer.

“She felt the need to leave him but couldn’t for fear that she, without him, would have nobody around her,” the lawyer said.

Prosecutors said they will decide whether to challenge the ruling or not after reviewing it.