Officials who leaked information on COVID-19 confirmed cases, ‘not guilty’ of leaking official secrets in the Supreme Court

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Public official who sent photos of confirmed cases to family members confirmed not guilty
It wasn’t something that could be viewed as an official secret leak.

▲ A resident in Beijing, China on the 16th, is being tested for nucleic acid for COVID-19. Currently, in Beijing, most residents are tested for nucleic acid once a day. Beijing AP Yonhap News

The Supreme Court has ruled that public officials who took photos of documents containing personal information of a confirmed COVID-19 patient and sent them to their families cannot be charged with leaking official secrets.

The second division of the Supreme Court (Chief Judge Jae-yeon Cho) announced on the 20th that it had confirmed the lower court’s decision to defer the sentence of a fine of 1 million won in the appeals trial against four civil servants in the county office, including Mr. The suspension of sentencing is a provision that suspends the sentence for a certain period of time when the degree of crime is relatively minor and is considered to be exonerated after the grace period without any specific incident.

Mr. A, who was working in the infectious disease department at a county office in Chungnam, attended a county office meeting in January 2020 and obtained the document ‘Report on Novel Coronavirus Infection’. It was a document containing personal information such as the gender, family relationship, and age of a specific confirmed patient, as well as the residence, age, gender, and workplace of those in contact with this person. Mr. A is accused of filming this document with his cell phone and then sending it to her spouse via messenger.

The remaining three civil servants were charged together with the charge of sending a photo of the document from Mr. A, the team leader, to their respective father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother and sister, and mother.

In the first trial, four people, including Mr. A, were found guilty of violating the Personal Information Protection Act on the grounds that data subjects had suffered damage. Addresses, workplaces, etc. of contacts of confirmed patients are necessary information for the prevention and management of infectious diseases, so it is worth protecting them as business secrets. On the contrary, it was also seen that inaccurate information could make the residents more anxious when it was known that contacts lived in the area at the time.

He also pointed out that it cannot be said that the leakage of information about them could threaten the national functions related to the prevention and management of infectious diseases.

In the second trial, while acknowledging the guilty verdict of the first trial as it is, Mr. A has no criminal history, sent a report only to his family in a serious Corona 19 situation, and was sentenced to a fine because there were extenuating circumstances such as deeply reflecting on his wrongdoing. postponed

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as it is, noting that there was no problem of legal misunderstanding in the conclusion of the second trial.

Reporter Jaehee Han

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