Taipei, April 26 (CNA) Taiwanese-Japanese actress Makiyo and her Japanese friend Takateru Tomoyori were given suspended prison sentences and supervised probation Thursday for beating up a Taipei taxi driver in February.
The Taipei District Court sentenced Makiyo to 10 months in prison, while Tomoyori was given a one-year sentence. But because they pleaded guilty to assaulting the cab driver and made an out of court settlement with him, the court said, it decided to suspend the sentences.
The court also banned Makiyo and Tomoyori from leaving Taiwan and said they will have to remain under supervised probation for three and four years, respectively.
It means that they will have to report to probation officers each month during the probationary period, the court said.
Makiyo and Tomoyori were charged with assault after they were caught on video beating up a taxi driver Lin Yu-chun on the night of Feb. 2. The incident arose over Lin's refusal to drive faster, as Makiyo had requested, according to the court verdict.
Lin suffered two fractured ribs and serious head injuries that resulted in concussion and brain hemorrhage.
The pair later reached an out of court settlement of NT$3 million (US$101,695) with Lin.
Upon hearing the news of the verdict, Lin's wife said people should forgive each other whenever they can. She said her husband still suffers from dizziness and pain and has difficulty focusing.
Her biggest concern is the surgery her husband is scheduled to have in May, she said.
Makiyo's lawyer Hsu Ling-chu said she would study the probation ruling to see if supervision is really necessary, before she and her client decide whether to appeal.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office also said it will study the decision and decide whether to appeal the verdict. Meanwhile, Tomoyori's attorney Wei Yi-lung said his client respects the ruling and has no intention of appealing.
In a statement, Tomoyori thanked the judicial system for giving him a chance to start over and said he appreciated the forgiveness granted by Lin, his family and the people of Taiwan.
The court said in a statement that Makiyo had made the assault under the influence of alcohol and left without getting medical help for the victim. The pair's attempt to conceal Makiyo's involvement in the attack set a negative example for the public, given that Makiyo is public figure, the court said.
Makiyo at first denied that she had attacked Lin, but video evidence showed her kicking Lin and his car, the court said.
The court said the evidence could not prove whether Makiyo and Tomoyori intended to cause serious physical harm since the attack lasted less than a minute. Lin's injuries were not untreatable and did not amount to the definition of "serious bodily harm," it added.
The prosecutors' office indicted the pair on Feb. 10 for "inflicting serious bodily harm" on Lin and recommended a six-year imprisonment for Tomoyori and four-year jail term for Makiyo.
However, in light of the settlement on March 15, prosecutors suggested lighter sentences of two years for Tomoyori and 16 months for Makiyo with probation.
(By Tsai Pei-chi, Liu Shih-yi, Hsu Ya-chu, Sabrina Li and Jamie Wang)