6 months in jail for TV judge who drove drunk

08:36, May 18, 2011      

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TV talent show judge Gao Xiaosong holds up a note reading: "Never drive when drunk" during his appearance at the Beijing Dongcheng District People's Court yesterday. Gao was jailed for six months and fined after he admitted dangerous driving.(Xinhuaphoto)

TV talent show judge Gao Xiaosong was jailed for six months and fined 4,000 yuan (US$615) by a Beijing court yesterday after he admitted dangerous driving.

The 42-year-old songwriter and popular "China's Got Talent" judge was the first driver to receive the maximum sentence under new laws which came into effect on May 1 which were intended to crack down on drunk driving.

Gao bowed in apology and held up a handwritten note which read: "Never drive when drunk" when he appeared at Beijing Dongcheng District People's Court yesterday afternoon.

"When wine is in, wit is out. Please draw a lesson from my case," Gao said in a statement. "I'm willing to be a life-time volunteer ambassador for action against drunk driving and will do my utmost to compensate the losses."

Two people injured when Gao's car caused a four-vehicle collision pled for leniency in a statement to the court. They said Gao had shown a good attitude after the accident.

Wu Bo, a friend of Gao, told the court Gao had called a driving service after a get-together in a downtown hotel on May 9. But no one had arrived after 20 minutes and Gao decided to drive himself despite the fact that he had been drinking.

Zhang Yadong, a music producer and colleague of Gao, said Gao called a driving service almost every time they had been out drinking together.

Gao's lawyer, surnamed Qiao, said the sentence was harsher than expected, and that could be attributed to the huge public attention the case had attracted.

Gao pleaded guilty, saying "I don't have anything for my defense, and all I have is remorse."

On Monday, Gao had his license revoked and was banned from driving for five years by the court for driving while drunk.

After Gao had left the friends' get-together, his Infiniti SUV crashed into a car stopped at a red light at an intersection near the diplomatic area of Dongzhimen Street in Beijing at 10:50pm.

The collision caused a pile-up that involved two other cars. Three people sustained slight injuries.

A blood test showed Gao had 243.03 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood - almost three times the legal limit.

As a result of the incident, Gao won't be on the TV show's judging panel for the foreseeable future. With the final episode of the current series due to be broadcast on July 10, Gao won't be able to attend its recording considering the sentence handed down yesterday, said a statement from the show's producers.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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