Update: Wheesung Receives Suspended Sentence For Propofol Use + Prosecution Files Appeal

Updated March 17 KST:

According to the Daegu District Court, the prosecution submitted an appeal on March 15 to object to the ruling in Wheesung’s first trial for charges of violating the Act on the Control of Narcotics, etc. Wheesung’s trial will therefore be heading to appellate court.

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Original Article:

Wheesung was given a suspended sentence in his first trial over charges of habitual propofol use.

On March 9, the Daegu District Court, Andong Branch sentenced Wheesung to a year in prison, suspended for two years, for charges of violating the Act on the Control of Narcotics, etc. This means that Wheesung will be spending two years in probation, but he will have to serve a one-year prison sentence if he violates the condition of the suspension during the probation.

Wheesung was also sentenced to 40 hours of community service, 40 hours of a drug treatment course, and an additional collection amount of 60.5 million won (approximately $53,200).

During his final trial on January 19, Wheesung had admitted to most of the charges related to habitual propofol use. The prosecution had requested a three-year prison sentence. He was ruled guilty on March 9 on charges of drug use, and the judge explained why the sentence was suspended.

Judge Cho Soon Pyo stated, “The defendant is a famous celebrity who has received attention and love from the public. He is therefore an influential person, and he should have shown greater determination to abide by the law and be a good role model, but he failed to do so.

“However, the defendant belatedly regrets his wrongdoing and he admitted himself into the hospital of his own accord and is receiving treatment. He is sincere in his intention to end the misuse of sleep anesthetics and the likelihood of a recurrence is very low, according to his physician. He has admitted to the crime and he has not received criminal punishment before. These factors were taken into consideration.”

In April 2020, Wheesung was suspected of having taken propofol several times with an acquaintance the previous December. While investigating a tip, the police had come to suspect Wheesung of purchasing propofol, and they sent his case to the prosecution with a recommendation of indictment.

Wheesung was also investigated for allegations of propofol use in 2013, during his military service. He was suspected of regularly using the drug in several places including a dermatology clinic from 2011 to early 2013. Wheesung stated that the drug was taken due to a herniated disc in his spine as well as partial hair loss. On July 10, 2013, he was cleared of the suspicions.

In March and April 2020, Wheesung was found unconscious twice after taking an anesthetic with similar effects to propofol. Unlike propofol, this anesthetic is not an illegal drug, and so he was questioned by police as a witness before being released.

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