A Superior Court jury began deliberations yesterday afternoon in the case against the driver of an alleged illegal taxi and his male friend, who are charged with beating up and threatening to kill a teen passenger.
Deliberation will resume today, Friday, at 8:15am.
Alleged taxi driver Han Tai Lin is on trial for assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. His co-defendant, Ji Jing Borja, is on trial for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho will decide on the charges of assault and battery and disturbing the peace against Lin, and the charge of disturbing the peace against Borja.
The prosecution rested its case on Wednesday after presenting at least four witnesses, including the alleged victim.
The boy, who is now 17, testified that he called the taxi to pick him up from Chacha Junior High in Kagman and drop him off at the house of his girlfriend in Tanapag where there was a fiesta at that time on Oct. 7, 2012. The boy stated that Lin got mad when he told him that he had no money and would pay him when they arrive at his girlfriend’s house.
The defense rested yesterday after assistant public defender Matthew Meyer, counsel for Lin, called in Lin, police officer Norbert Mettao, the alleged illegal taxi operator, and alleged illegal taxi driver.
Lin denied beating the boy and claimed that the teen tried to extort money from him by threatening to have him arrested for operating an illegal taxi.
The alleged taxi operator and the alleged illegal taxi driver both testified yesterday that they heard on their taxi radio Lin repeatedly stating that the boy was threatening to have him arrested for engaging in illegal taxi. The two witnesses said that Lin’s voice appeared to be in a hurry and was shaking.
In her closing arguments, assistant attorney general Nicole Driscoll urged the jury to give justice to the boy, who was 16 years old when the incident happened.
The prosecutor said that when the boy told Lin that he does not have money at that time for his taxi fare, Lin snapped and became very angry, pulling an 18” long screwdriver and threatening the teen.
In the defense’s closing arguments, Meyer cited the teen’s allegedly inconsistent statements during his testimony in court, to investigators, and to his then girlfriend.
Meyer said that Lin never changed his testimony, compared to the teen.
Meyer said the boy kept changing his testimony and in fact told his girlfriend a false story that police recovered guns and drugs from the taxi after Lin’s and Borja’s arrest.
In his closing arguments, attorney Colin Thompson, counsel for Borja, described the teen’s testimony as “just unbelievable.”
Thompson questioned how Lin could have hit the teen with an 18-inch screwdriver while driving and calling the radio at the same time.
“It doesn’t make common sense!” Thompson said.
Thompson said the screwdriver and reports of the boy’s injury were not presented as evidence.
“Where’s the doctor, the nurse, the photographs of the injury?” the defense lawyer asked. “Don’t you want corroboration so you are certain with your decision?”
Thompson pointed out that Mettao, who responded and interviewed the boy, gave a different testimony on the witness stand.
The defense lawyer said he believes that the boy was just embarrassed to tell his then girlfriend that he did not want to pay the taxi and was injured when he jumped from the cab.