Taiwanese-Japanese actress Makiyo and her Japanese friend Takateru Tomoyori were given suspended prison sentences and supervised probation yesterday for assaulting a taxi driver in Taipei in February.
The Taipei District Court sentenced Makiyo to 10 months in prison, while Tomoyori was given a one-year sentence. However, because they pleaded guilty to assault and made an out-of-court settlement with him, the court decided to suspend the sentences.
The court also banned Makiyo and Tomoyori from leaving Taiwan and said they would have to remain under supervised probation for three and four years respectively. They will have to report to probation officers once a 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, surnamed Lin (林), on the night of Feb. 2. The incident arose over Lin’s refusal to drive faster, as Makiyo had requested, according to the verdict.
Lin suffered two fractured ribs and serious head injuries, that resulted in concussion and a brain hemorrhage. The pair later reached an out-of-court settlement of NT$3 million (US$101,700) with Lin.
Upon learning of the verdict, Lin’s wife said people should forgive each other whenever they can, but added that she would discuss the verdict with her lawyer before deciding whether to appeal.
Her husband still suffers from dizziness and pain, and he has difficulty focusing, she said, adding that her biggest concern is the surgery her husband is scheduled to have next month.
Makiyo’s lawyer, Hsu Ling-chu (徐鈴茱), said she would study the probation ruling before she and her client decide whether to appeal. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office also said it would also study the decision and decide whether to appeal.
Meanwhile, Tomoyori’s attorney, Wei Yi-lung (魏憶龍), 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 all Taiwanese.
The court said in a statement that Makiyo had been under the influence of alcohol and that she left the scene without getting medical help for the victim. The pair’s attempts to conceal Makiyo’s involvement in the attack set a negative example for the public, 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. Lin’s injuries were not untreatable and the attack did not amount to serious bodily harm, it added.
Prosecutors had recommended a six-year sentence for Tomoyori and a four-year term for Makiyo. However, in light of the settlement, prosecutors suggested sentences of two years and 16 months.