Ex- Surgeon’s Convictions Quashed, Preps for New Rape Trial Amid Miscarriage of Justice Claims

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A former cosmetic surgeon, Ahn Sup Kim, once beleaguered by a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the accused rape and sexual assault of a karaoke bar employee, now sees his convictions quashed. The earlier verdict is under the scanner, with appeal judges suggesting a potential miscarriage of justice, leading to Mr. Kim’s preparation for a new trial.

The incident in question reportedly occurred in a bar in Melbourne’s CBD in September 2017, with Mr. Kim, 48 years old at the time, inviting a bar hostess to join him privately.

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Allegations from the police report quantify the encounters as non-consensual, detailing that Mr. Kim supposedly touched the woman’s breasts above her clothes, kissed her and further violated her. This gruesome act was concretized when a jury found Mr. Kim guilty of both sexual assault and rape.

This verdict stemmed into an appeal from Mr. Kim in January this year, who disagreed with the trial judge’s instructions to the jury. The point of contention was the utilization of Mr. Kim’s denial of violating the woman’s private parts, both to the police and beneath her underclothing, presented as incriminating evidence.

Interactions with the police saw Mr. Kim initially deny any sexual contact with the victim, only to admit to inappropriate touch when faced with CCTV footage. However, he steadfastly denied any penetration or beneath-the-underwear contact.

The initial trial judge took these denials as evidence of untruthfulness and thus, incriminating activity — perspectives shared by the appeal judges after reviewing the case.

The CCTV footage, while providing apparent corroboration of Mr. Kim’s hand within the woman’s pants for almost a minute and a half, could not conclusively establish if he had penetrated or touched her inappropriately. This ambiguity led the appeal judges to rule out the consideration of Mr. Kim’s denials as false admission of guilt.

Mr. Kim further contended that the trial judge erroneously failed to direct the jury to separate the alleged “lies” from the evidence proffered, as they pertained to varied charges. This argument found favor with the appeal judges.

The potential misunderstanding that any single lie could substantiate each of the charges and that the combined strength of the lies could bear on all charges was flagged as a risk. Concerns were raised about the jury possibly resorting to this reasoning, which could result in a severe miscarriage of justice concerning Mr. Kim’s convictions.

Despite the dismissal of some of Mr. Kim’s objections, the appeal judges have demanded a fresh trial due to the validity of two appeal grounds. Ergo, the convictions for his case have been annulled, with a directions hearing for Mr. Kim notably transpiring at the Victorian County Court recently.