“Mr. Seo Jae-young… was striking Mr. Gi Dong-yeong’s face with his fist.”
With that statement, Su-bin brought her narrative to a close, as though she believed she had conveyed everything necessary. The silence that followed, however, bore an eerie weight, and in an instant, Yi-soo’s instincts signaled that something had gone amiss. Swiftly, she posed a question with unwavering resolve.
“After the defendant had struck the victim’s face with his fist, did he proceed to launch an assault on the victim’s entire body, utilizing a golf club?”
In the realm of legalities, there was a distinct divergence between charges of assault and those of aggravated assault. The crucial juncture was the introduction of a specialized weapon. It was vital that the assault had escalated to incorporate an implement such as a golf club, rather than solely relying on bare fists.
Wasn’t it evident from the medical report itself that the victim had endured an attack involving a weapon like a golf club? As Su-bin addressed Yi-soo’s inquiry, her lips quivered with an undeniable uncertainty.
Her gaze seemed to shy away from direct eye contact, as though she sought solace in the ground beneath her feet, evading the penetrating scrutiny of others.
“…I didn’t witness that. What I saw was Mr. Seo Jae-young using his fists to strike Mr. Gi Dong-yeong. There was no golf club or any comparable object…”
An arresting silence followed, gripping the courtroom in its vice-like grip. Su-bin’s voice trembled ever so slightly as she concluded her assertion. Yet, it wasn’t only Yi-soo who was caught in the maelstrom of astonishment provoked by this baffling testimony.
As Hyun-seong’s eyes skimmed the newspaper atop the lawyer’s desk, his brow contorted in puzzlement. The sudden emergence of a witness had promised a transformative turn of events, but instead, the situation had veered down an unexpected path.
What’s going on?
His gaze remained fixed on Yi-soo’s profile, which bore an unmistakable trace of disquiet. Hyun-seong had invested considerable confidence in Su-bin, a witness he had located himself, yet the unfolding scenario defied all expectations. During the earlier questioning through the defense attorneys, Su-bin had adamantly asserted that she had witnessed nothing.
And now, she claimed to have only observed the instance of the punch? A deliberate interference seemed undeniable. His attention shifted to Jae-young seated beside him. With a hushed voice, he leaned in to speak.
“Did Mr. Seo Jae-young do something?”
“What am I supposed to say? I was just being courteous to the lady.”
“Mr. Seo Jae-young.”
“Let’s focus on the trial, Attorney Yoon Hyun-seong. See? The judge is casting his gaze on us.”
Hyun-seong’s suspicion intensified. Jae-young’s nonchalant demeanor belied the gravity of the situation. In that instant, a realization dawned upon him – Jae-young had likely orchestrated Su-bin’s testimony without his consultation.
“Witness, be aware that perjury carries consequences. I implore you to reconsider your recollection. Did the defendant truly not assault the victim with a golf club?”
“…Yes. I only witnessed the punch.”
Su-bin’s response was unyielding, though its incongruity left a palpable tension in the courtroom.
“The testimony the witness provides at this moment is of utmost significance. We cannot disregard the potential influence of coercion…”
“Prosecutor, witness intimidation will not be tolerated.”
This couldn’t be the culmination of the trial, not with Su-bin’s blatant perjury on display. It was a truth acknowledged by Yi-soo, Seo Jae-young, and even Hyun-seong. A stifling sensation constricted her throat, a realization that time was slipping through her fingers like grains of sand.
The presiding judge, astute to Yi-soo’s escalating discomposure, interceded with a tacit caution. The situation had taken a turn she hadn’t anticipated, leaving her mind blank as her thoughts raced to find a solution.
Attempting to seize any remaining vestiges of control, she directed her attention toward the judge, desperately seeking purchase amidst the tumultuous currents of the trial.
“Your Honor, the witness currently manages a café within a building registered under the defendant’s name. There is a conceivable likelihood that she was subjected to private pressures regarding this issue.”
The judge adjusted his glasses, his gaze descending upon Su-bin, who held her ground while testifying.
“Witness, is this claim valid? I urge you to speak candidly.”
“It’s true,” Su-bin insisted. “I’m recounting what I observed as it occurred.”
A sigh, unbidden and heavy, slipped from Yi-soo’s lips. As a prosecutor, she had no recourse but to accept the grim reality that she couldn’t persist in denying the perjury any further. No tangible evidence remained to substantiate her claims – no nearby CCTV footage, no corroborating testimony to lean on.
Her gaze shifted to the gallery, settling on Gi Dong-yeong, who had been poring over a newspaper. His countenance was one of profound devastation, perhaps stunned by the revelation that Su-bin, who had previously declared to have seen nothing, had been in such close proximity for an extended duration. A bitter aftertaste filled Yi-soo’s mouth, a sense of powerlessness that gnawed at her core.
“Prosecutor, do you have any further questions?”
“Defense, do you have any questions to pose?”
Hyun-seong’s thoughts were equally ensnared in the web of confusion. He was forced to pivot the trajectory of the trial entirely, a stark departure from his initial strategy of asserting complete innocence. He swept his disheveled bangs aside and fixated his gaze on the legal documents before him, his eyes gleaming with calculated detachment.
“Then, the witness is excused to return to her seat.”
Su-bin retreated to her seat with haste, as if fleeing from the spotlight of her own deception. Her head hung low, avoiding the gaze of everyone present. Rather than resuming her position, she gathered her belongings and made a swift exit from the courtroom.