Doctor found not guilty of negligence in swimming champion Park's case

Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:14pm EST
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SEOUL (Reuters) - The doctor who administered injections which caused decorated South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan to fail a doping test was found not guilty of causing injury through professional negligence on Thursday.

The doctor, identified only by her surname Kim, had been accused by prosecutors of causing Park bodily harm by failing to disclose the substances contained in the injection, and of violating the medical code.

Park, who won 400 meters freestyle gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is one of his country's most popular athletes, tested positive for testosterone ahead of the Incheon Asian Games in September 2014.

He said he had been assured by the hospital that the injections contained only vitamins and would not violate any doping regulations.

The 26-year-old received an 18-month ban from the sport by swimming's governing body FINA, leaving his chances of competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics hanging by a thread.

On Thursday, Seoul Central District Court handed out a fine of 1 million won ($847.74) to the doctor for failing to leave records of the injections, local media reported.

However, while the court accepted she had failed to properly explain the side effects of the injection, there was no proof Park had suffered bodily harm because of this and so she was found not guilty of professional negligence.

Under the terms of his suspension, Park was barred from using national facilities in Korea and has recently returned from a training stint in Japan.

While his suspension ends in March, it is unclear whether he will be able to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.   Continued...

South Korea's Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan reacts as he answers reporters' questions during a news conference at a hotel in Seoul March 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji