Former British rocker Gary Glitter paid US$4,000 to the families of Vietnamese girls whom he is accused of sexually abusing in exchange for their cooperation, his lawyer said Wednesday. Attorney Le Thanh Kinh said Glitter has given US$2,000 each to the families of two girls, ages 11 and 12, after they agreed to write letters to the court asking that the case be dropped.
"If we pay the money for the two families, when this case goes to court, maybe Mr. Gary will receive a lighter penalty," Kinh said. Glitter, 61, has been held at Phuoc Co prison since Nov. 19 under suspicion of committing obscene acts with a child, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison. He was seized at the airport while trying to board a flight to Bangkok from Ho Chi Minh City.
Police completed their investigation this week and handed over their conclusions to Glitter and Kinh on Wednesday, said Lt. Col. Nguyen Duc Trinh in a telephone interview. Prosecutors will get the documents within three days.
Prosecutors said Wednesday they were likely to charge Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, with engaging in lewd acts with a child, saying there was not enough evidence to prove the more serious crime of child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad.
"We followed this case from the beginning. The crime of obscene acts with a child is obvious," said Nguyen Van Xung, deputy provincial chief prosecutor. "We hope to have the final decision in less than a month."
The families, who were paid two weeks ago, had originally asked for US$10,000 and US$5,000 respectively, Kinh said. "After receiving the money, they informed the investigation bureau that they don't want to go to court and they want to drop the case," he said.
During their investigation, police had also looked into whether Glitter could be charged with child rape. Under Vietnamese law, sex with a child under the age of 13 would be considered rape. The two girls reportedly told police that they had sex with the former rocker at his rented seaside house in Vung Tau.
However, police investigator Trinh said there was not enough evidence to press the child rape charge against Glitter since medical tests showed the girls did not have sexual intercourse. Police concluded that Glitter had committed obscene acts with them, Trinh said, reports the AP. I.L.