Friday, September 17, 2010

Teacher gets suspended sentence for drugs

Newsis published an article three days ago about the fate of this teacher, saying that on the 14th, a Busan court gave 26 year old American middle school English teacher ‘A’ a two and a half year sentence suspended for 3 years for ordering a new kind of drug from overseas via the internet.

Interestingly enough, the judge said that though the bringing in and smoking of drugs banned in Korea was a serious crime, he took into account that most of the drugs were seized, they weren’t spread on the market, and the teacher had sincerely taught his students since coming to Korea, so he gave him a suspended sentence.

A came to Korea in September 2008 to teach at a middle school in Busan’s Buk-gu, and in May and June he ordered a total of 29 grams of the new drug JWH-018 on two occasions and smoked a gram of it himself.

Interestingly enough, Newsis was the only media outlet to cover this (though only three covered his arrest). Perhaps a teacher getting a suspended sentence partly for his "sincere teaching" isn't news (or perhaps there were bigger stories that day).

For comparison, I was going to link to this story and mention the female American teacher in Jeju who got a 3 year jail term (and four years probation, which made little sense) for importing 388 grams in a cake, but upon re-reading the Korean language article, I realized that this translation about her sentence isn't correct (at least according to Naver's dictionary). Much like the teacher described above, she got a three year sentence suspended for four years. In that case as well, according to this article, the judge said that he took into consideration that all of the marijuana was seized, she had confessed to the crime, and deeply regretted her mistake.

Here's the difference in how suspended sentences and jail time with probation is rendered:

그는 징역 1년 집행 유예 2년을 선고받았다.
그는 징역 1년, 집행 유예 2년을 선고받았다.

He was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years.
He was sentenced to one year in prison and two years probation.

If there's a comma, it's a jail term and probation; if there's no comma and the '에' tagged onto the jail sentence, it's a suspended sentence. Not that I pretend to be very knowledgable about this - I've just been looking at articles from the 1970s which feature a lot of jail sentences, and had to learn that vocabulary earlier this week to understand them. Hopefully the fruit of that research will be posted next week.


kushibo said...

Wow. Good catch. I hope the courts never make a mistake with the commas.

matt said...

That would be a decidedly bad thing, wouldn't it?

Teacher, being taken away: 'The sentence had "에" in it! 에!!'

Prison guard 1: 'What'd he say?'
Prison guard 2: 'Must be a Canadian. They do say "eh" a lot, don't they?'