SEOUL/DAEJEON (Yonhap) -- The nation's top court on Friday returned to a lower court a ruling that convicted the mayor of Daejeon on charges of pre-electioneering before a local election in June 2014.
Overruling the Daejeon High Court's decision, the Supreme Court said Kwon Sun-taik is not guilty of unlawfully participating in forum activities, which began with its establishment in November 2012.
Prosecutors said such activities should be deemed as an election campaign prior to the legitimate election period, which is banned in the country.
The country's top court, however, said the activities took place five months before election day and that Kwon did not ask for support for his election race.
The court also said additional review is needed to conclude how much of the money gathered through the forum members can be deemed illegal political funds.
The high court originally sentenced the 60-year-old to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.
"I am glad that the continuity of the city's policies have been guaranteed through today's ruling," Kwon told reporters at the city hall in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, after the ruling was delivered. "I apologize to our citizens for causing concerns."