The morning of Jan. 29 in Seoul, a mother who lost her daughter in a car accident three years ago in Costa Rica gave a tearful testimony in the trial of the suspected killer taking place in the Central American nation.
The video-conference trial was the first of its kind since the establishment of the act on international judicial mutual assistance in criminal matters in 1991.
The act Korea signed with 73 nations encourages the countries to cooperate in criminal investigations and trials, such as by gathering evidence and witnesses’ statements.
The mother flew to the Central American nation years before with her husband for work, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
Her 6-year-old daughter died in Heredia in 2009 while the two were walking to school. A car suddenly appeared out of nowhere, striking the child, and then drove away. The girl died in hospital.
A 66-year old Canadian woman was indicted without detention and put on trial, but she denied the allegations.
The trial dragged on for more than three years.
For the Korean couple the lagging trial was torturous and heartbreaking, since they had to be reminded of the painful story again and again.
However, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel last December when the Costa Rican authorities asked the Ministry of Justice for cooperation in the trial process, making it unnecessary for the heartbroken couple to fly to the opposite side of the world.
The prosecution in Korea and the Korean Embassy in Costa Rica helped the parents not only view the trial, but to stand as witnesses as well.
The mother, the only witness, and four other family members participated in the online trial at the prosecutors’ office at 7:30 a.m. Jan 29, which was 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 in Costa Rica.
The suspect finally confessed after the mother’s testimony and asked for forgiveness from the family.
She was sentenced to three years in jail with a suspended sentence of three years and a $20,000 fine.
“(The prosecution) hopes citizens know they can proceed with trials with the help of the mutual assistance when they fall victim of crimes in other countries without much difficulty,” the official said.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com