Prosecutors sought imprisonment for Tran Thi Ngoc Trinh for publicly performing stunts on a motorbike, but she got away with a suspended sentence due to mitigating circumstances.
During her trial at the HCMC People’s Court on Friday, the 35-year-old model and actress, along with Tran Xuan Dong, 36, her driving instructor, expressed sincere remorse for their actions.
She was prosecuted for causing public disorder, a crime subject to two to seven years in prison, and Dong faced an additional charge of possessing motorbikes with fake documents.
Trinh said her offense was due to limited understanding of the law, and only after her arrest did she realize her mistake and its potential negative impact on society.
Trinh had rode a high-capacity motorcycle without a license and engaged in numerous dangerous stunts to “seek attention and show off,” the prosecutors said.
“As a public figure the defendant should have set an example, but instead committed actions that upset the public and must be strictly dealt with.”
But they admitted there were mitigating factors: The duo had a clean record, committed a crime without causing significant harm and sincerely confessed and showed remorse.
So they sought jail terms of six to nine months for Trinh and 12-21 months for Dong.
After listening to their arguments for more than an hour, the judge panel agreed with most of them but ruled that the defendants’ violations, though planned, were not a “organized crime” as prosecutors claimed.
Besides, Trinh had already been in custody for over three months for the investigation, and further detention would be unnecessary, they ruled further.
Nevertheless, the court handed Trinh a one-year suspended sentence, which will kick in if she is sentenced to prison in future.
Dong got one year for disrupting public order and six months for fabricating seals and documents.
According to the indictment, Trinh and Dong performed stunts on a motorbike without appropriate licenses in Thu Duc City several times between July and October last year.
Trinh had no protective equipment and rode the vehicle in “inappropriate” positions, including standing on one side of the vehicle and riding with no hands.
They recorded the stunts and posted videos on several social media platforms including TikTok and Facebook.
They got over 163 million likes and comments.
The two were arrested on Oct. 19.
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