Update: 14:48 | 22/07/2022
HCMC People’s Court postponed a trial Thursday involving a man and his fiancée accused of abusing the man's 8-year-old daughter to death, demanding further clarification on evidence and physical harm.
Nguyen Kim Trung Thai, 37, and his fiancée Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, 27, were escorted by traffic police to court at 7 a.m. But the trial was quickly dismissed.
The court's order came after Tran Thi Ngoc Nu, the lawyer representing the girl’s family, insisted Thai be charged with murder and demanded further assessment into the impacts of his actions in the girl’s death.
Police escort Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang to the court on July 21, 2022.
Thai has been charged with torture and concealing crimes. He faces eight years in jail if convicted. Trang faces death after being charged with murder and torture.
Nu said investigation showed that Trang and Thai had beaten the girl, Van An, on the head with a rod and a metal bar several times between around 10 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2021 until 2 a.m. the next morning.
Thai also saw Trang beating An at other times, either directly or via home camera footage.
The lawyer said Thai's actions were enough to make him an accomplice in the girl’s murder.
"Thai committed the abuse together with Trang, and his [lack of intervention] motivated Trang to keep beating An brutally," Nu said.
"Thai must bear the main responsibility for the death of his child."
An's abuse case drew a lot of public attention in Vietnam, with many people coming to the court on Thursday, hoping to attend the trial. However, the sheer number meant many had to stay out on the street. Some people traveled from outside the city just to witness the trial.
The case came to light after the girl was taken to hospital unconscious on Dec. 22 last year but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Her injuries prompted doctors to contact the police.
Autopsy results determined the girl had suffered a hematoma under the skin of her forehead, mild cerebral edema and broken ribs.
Investigation found Trang had hit her repeatedly from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. that day until she passed out.
Prosecutors in May said that between Dec. 7 and 22 last year, Trang had used rattan and wooden rods to beat An.
She used to lock An in a kennel and make her girl kneel while studying for "hours." At times she would remove the girl's clothes, make her kneel and raise both arms and then hit her with the rods.
The father was aware of the cruelty but did not interfere, and in fact would join Trang in abusing the child.
Trang and Thai had lived together for over a year since Thai's divorce from his ex-wife. A court had decided that the older child, An, would live with the father while her younger brother would live with their mother.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the girl had to stay home and study online since October last year. Thai left his daughter in Trang's care and repeatedly refused to allow the biological mother to visit the girl.