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Shinhwa’s Shin Hye-sung has been sentenced to two years in prison in the appellate court

Shinhwa’s Shin Hye-sung, who was sentenced to a suspended prison term in the first trial for driving under the influence, has been sentenced to two years in prison in the appellate court.

The Seoul Eastern District Court’s 3rd Criminal Division (appeals) held the first trial of Shin Hye-sung, who was charged with violating the Road Traffic Act (refusal to undergo drunk driving test), on the morning of the 15th. Shin Hye-sung’s trial comes about 11 months after the first trial verdict was handed down on April 20 last year. The prosecution appealed against the first-instance ruling that sentenced Shin Hye-sung to a suspended prison term.

The prosecution, which raised concerns about unfair sentencing, once again sought a two-year prison term for Shin Hye-sung in the appellate court, just like in the first trial.

The prosecution explained, “Despite the defendant’s previous conviction for drunk driving, he committed drunk driving again,” and “He showed a state of extreme intoxication where he couldn’t control himself, yet he drove a vehicle and refused to undergo a drunk driving test, indicating the severity of his crime.”

However, Shin Hye-sung’s defense attorney requested the dismissal of the prosecution’s appeal, arguing that an actual prison sentence would be too harsh.

The defendant, Shin Hye-sung, appealed to the court for leniency, stating, “I deeply regret and repent for the mistake I made, despite being a public figure who has a significant influence on many people.” He also expressed his remorse through his final statement, saying, “I deeply regret and repent,” and “I will make sure this never happens again. I sincerely apologize.”

Shin Hye-sung appeared in court wearing a black hat and a mask to cover his face, accompanied by his defense attorney. He remained silent in response to reporters’ questions about the prosecution’s appeal. During the appellate trial, he also displayed an attitude of deep reflection, unable to lift his head properly.

According to the prosecution, Shin Hye-sung is accused of driving 13 kilometers from a restaurant in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, to Tancheon 2 Bridge in Songpa-gu while intoxicated on October 10, 2022. After getting into the car, a substitute driver called by his companion initially drove, but Shin Hye-sung took over driving after dropping off the companion at their destination. He was found asleep in the car after stopping it.

At the time of the incident, the police received a report stating that a vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road. When they arrived, they demanded a drunk driving test from Shin Hye-sung, but he refused. It was also controversial that the car Shin Hye-sung was driving was identified as belonging to someone else who had reported it stolen.

The police investigated whether Shin Hye-sung was also involved in theft, but the intent to steal the car was not proven, so he was charged with illegal use of a vehicle.

During his final statement in the first trial, Shin Hye-sung tearfully expressed, “I apologize for disappointing many people despite the need to set a good example. I will reflect and make sure this never happens again.” Shin Hye-sung’s defense attorney appealed for leniency, stating, “He is reflecting on his own wrongful actions,” and “While he was active as a Shinhwa member for 25 years, he suffered from panic disorder, depression, and social phobia, and after 2021, his symptoms worsened, leading to a halt in his broadcasting activities and relocation. Naturally, he did not drink alcohol at all during this period.”

The court sentenced Shin Hye-sung to six months in prison with a one-year suspended sentence.

The court stated, “The defendant admitted to all the charges in the case, and the submitted evidence was also accepted as guilty. Refusing to undergo a drunk driving test is a serious act in itself as it constitutes refusing the core process of measuring blood alcohol content, which is essential in handling drunk driving cases. At the time, there were reasons to acknowledge that the defendant was drunk driving, and the severity of the crime itself is not favorable.”

However, the court also mentioned, “The defendant acknowledges all the facts of the case and shows an attitude of reflection. There was no personal or material damage, the owner of the vehicle does not wish to pursue punishment, there was no criminal punishment exceeding a fine, and these factors worked in favor of the defendant.”

Shin Hye-sung was previously investigated for drunk driving in April 2007. At that time, his blood alcohol content was measured at 0.097%, which corresponded to the license suspension threshold.

Shin Hye-sung’s appeal trial is scheduled to be held on April 12.


Author Nat.O
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