Korean Coast Guard Official Hasn't Time for Court
An official of South Korea’s coast guard failed to appear at his first court hearing on Monday, citing time constraints.
The official Kim Kyoung-il has been accused of leading a poor initial response to the Sewol ferry disaster in April where over 300 people died. Kim was captain of the 100 ton Mokpo policy rescue boat 123 that was first to arrive at the scene when the Sewol was sinking.
He has been indicted on charges of negligence of duty including removing some of the work records written on the day of the ferry sinking and filing new content, possibly out of fear that his team's poor initial response would become apparent, reports Korean newsagency Yonhap.
Kim is also charged with not properly following the coast guard disaster management manual and not taking appropriate measures as the person in charge of the scene.
"The defendant is currently on duty and has not yet fully consulted with a lawyer," Kim's lawyer told the district court, says Yonhap, however it is customary for both the defendant and lawyer to appear at the first session.
The next court hearing is scheduled for December 22.