The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the appellate ruling on three men charged with the gang rape of a school teacher, affirming that their first failed rape attempt should also be counted as complicity in the crime.
The top court upheld the convictions on a 39-year-old Kim, 35-year-old Lee and 50-year-old Park and reaffirmed their sentences of 15, 12 and 10 years in jail, respectively.
The defendants were charged with gang-raping a school teacher in the residential office of an elementary school in the remote island town of Shinan, South Jeolla Province, off the country's southwestern coast in 2016.
Covering themselves with caps and masks, the three suspects in a gang rape of a school teacher stand in front of media at a police station in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, on June 10, 2016, before being transferred to a detention center. (Yonhap)
Their case drew media attention as the violators turned out to be parents of students who attended the victim's school.
The rulings from two lower courts dismissed the complicity claim for the first rape attempt because it did not happen as the victim resisted.
The attackers managed to put the victim to sleep afterwards and took turns raping her. One of them filmed the crime with his smartphone.
The defendants were to face heavier punishments if the court decided to count the first attempt as part of the crime. Otherwise, they would have been held accountable individually for just one act of rape each.
The appeals court had commuted the sentences for the defendants to seven to 10 years in jail, citing a settlement reached with the victim and a petition from the villagers asking for leniency.
But the top court sent back the case to the appellate court, ruling to the effect that the complicity argument stands for the first rape attempt as well.
The appeals court validated the first rape, and the top court ruled the same. (Yonhap)