UIJEONGBU, South Korea — A U.S. Army sergeant convicted of assaulting a taxi cab driver won’t have to serve jail time following a partial victory on his appeal, court officials said Wednesday.

The conviction of Sgt. 1st Class Marlowe Davon Howard, 35, was upheld by a Uijeongbu appeals court Friday, but his one-year jail sentence was suspended.

Following his conviction, Howard told the appeals court during an Oct. 24 hearing that while he felt his actions were justified, he had apologized to the taxi driver and paid him a 2 million won settlement (about $1,500).

Such settlements are common in South Korean courts and usually mitigate sentences, especially in cases involving minor damage. Defendants are rarely found completely "not guilty" in the South Korean system, legal officials have told Stars and Stripes.

Howard declined to settle during his trial, maintaining his innocence.

Howard and the taxi driver were involved in a traffic accident in Dongducheon in December.

Prosecutors say that when the taxi driver got out of his car, Howard kept driving and dragged the driver for about 800 yards.

On Oct. 24, Howard said that after the taxi struck his car he was surrounded and feared for the safety of his daughter, who was in the car. He added that the taxi driver was not seriously injured while he attempted to stop Howard’s car from driving away.

Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this report.

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