The Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld the Taipei District Court’s decision to give Taiwanese-Japanese actress Makiyo and a Japanese friend suspended prison sentences for assaulting a cab driver in February.
In rejecting an appeal by prosecutors for a heavier sentence, the High Court agreed with the lower court that the victim’s injuries did not constitute “serious bodily harm,” which would have merited a stiffer sentence.
The High Court also rejected the appeal because they found it contradictory for accusing the pair of only “attempting” to incur serious bodily harm, but saying that the victim was left severely impaired.
Prosecutors filed an appeal on May 10 to overturn the Taipei District Court’s verdict.
They disagreed with its decision to convict Makiyo and Takateru Tomoyori on a lesser charge of “inflicting bodily harm” instead of the more serious charge of “inflicting serious bodily harm.”
Prosecutors can still appeal the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
On April 26, the Taipei District Court gave Makiyo a 10-month sentence, suspended for three years and Tomoyori a one-year sentence, suspended for four years.
The court said it suspended the sentences because the pair pleaded guilty to assaulting the driver, Lin Yu-chun (林余駿), and reached an out-of-court settlement with him.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office said in a statement in May that based on Makiyo and Tomoyori’s actions, they should have been dealt with in accordance with Article 278 of the Criminal Code, which sets sentencing guidelines for those who cause, or attempt to cause, serious physical harm to others.
It stipulates that an individual who causes serious physical injury should be sentenced to between five and 12 years in jail and those who attempt to cause bodily harm should also be punished.
Makiyo and Tomoyori were charged with assault after they were caught on video kicking and beating Lin on the night of Feb. 2. According to the district court ruling, the incident was triggered when Lin refused Makiyo’s request to drive faster.
Lin suffered two fractured ribs and serious head injuries that left him with a concussion and a brain hemorrhage. He later accepted a NT$3 million (US$102,200) out-of-court settlement from Makiyo and Tomoyori.
The district court said in a statement after its ruling that the evidence presented did not prove that Makiyo and Tomoyori intended to cause serious physical harm, because the attack lasted for less than a minute. It also said Lin’s injuries were not untreatable and did not meet the threshold of serious bodily harm.