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Supreme Court upholds jury-approved verdict

   The Supreme Court overruled a lower court's decision to convict a suspect of attempted murder, saying that an earlier ruling unanimously approved by the jury cannot be dismissed without new compelling evidence, court officials said Monday.

   The 48-year-old man, surnamed Moon, was indicted for attempting to kill a worker of his neighbor company with an ax in 2009, but the citizen jurors unanimously acquitted him of the attempted murder charges, according to the officials. The court and the seven-member jury said Moon did not intentionally wield the tool to kill the worker.

   The Seoul High Court, however, dismissed the not-guilty verdict, sentencing Moon to two and a half years in prison, suspended for four years.

   The Supreme Court said a higher court should not overturn a ruling approved by the jury and court unless it found compelling evidence against the case.

   "The lower court and the jury ruled that it lacked evidence that Moon intended to commit murder, but the High Court overruled it even though it did not collect new evidence," said the Supreme Court in a verdict.

   South Korea introduced the jury trial system in 2008 in a bid to expand democratic process to the judiciary. Under the system, the judge is asked to consider the citizen jurors' opinion but is not bound by the jury's conclusion.

(Yonhap News)

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