2 police officers acquitted in fatal shooting of robbery suspect during getaway

MAR. 01, 2012

Japan Today


The 74-year-old mother of a man fatally shot by two police officers on Wednesday expressed her anger and dissatisfaction at the trial that resulted in the acquittal of the officers.

In a landmark case, the two police officers were committed to trial by the Nara District Court after they shot and killed Sojitsu Ko, 28, who was about to flee with an accomplice from a robbery in Yamatokoriyama in September 2003. The officers were tried under the lay judge system to determine whether they intended to kill Ko and if the use of lethal force was necessary, NTV reported.

The two officers, together with another policeman, fired eight rounds at the suspect’s getaway car after it got wedged between two police cars. Ko died in the front passenger seat and the driver was injured.

Ko’s mother initially filed a criminal complaint, following which the Nara District Public Prosecutor’s Office decided not to indict the officers. In 2010, she asked the district court to examine the case, and the two officers were indicted, according to NTV.

In its ruling handed down on Tuesday, the Nara District Court said there was no evidence that the police officers intended to kill the suspect who had been ordered to get out of the car for questioning over a robbery. When the car pulled away, the officers had no choice but to fire at it, the presiding judge was quoted as saying.

At the press conference, Ko’s mother said, “This trial was a mess. They didn’t hear any opinions from this side of the debate. It made me extremely angry.” She has vowed to appeal the verdict.


発砲の警官、二審も無罪 正当防衛認める 中国人死亡


 栃木県西方町(現栃木市)で2006年、中国籍の羅成(ルオ・チェン)さん(当時38)が、警官の発砲で死亡した事件で、特別公務員暴行陵虐致死罪に問われた県警の巡査部長・平田学被告(35)=当時は巡査=に対する付審判の控訴審判決が27日、東京高裁であった。小倉正三裁判長は、「発砲は正当防衛」として無罪とした一審・宇都宮地裁判決を支持し、検察官役の指定弁護士の控訴を棄却した。

 羅さんは06年6月に路上で平田被告から職務質問をされて逃走。民家の庭にあった石造りの灯籠(とうろう)の上部の宝珠(重さ約3キロ)を持って抵抗したため、平田被告が発砲した。高裁判決は「羅さんは宝珠を高く持ち上げ、平田被告の頭に振り下ろそうとしていた」などとして、一審判決と同じく正当防衛を認めた。威嚇射撃をしなかった点についても「民家が近くにあってためらったというのはやむを得ない」と述べた。

 遺族らが損害賠償を求めて起こした民事訴訟では、二審・東京高裁が今年4月、「威嚇射撃もなく性急に発砲した行為は違法」とし、栃木県に約1千万円の支払いを命じる逆転判決を言い渡している。

 付審判は、公務員の職権乱用などについての告訴・告発を検察官が不起訴とした場合に、告訴・告発人の求めに応じて開かれる刑事裁判で、裁判所が指定した弁護士が検察官役を担う。