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2009年2月23日 (月)

裁判員制度 綿密な準備と検証を怠るな

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 23, 2009)

Leave no stone unturned for lay judge system

裁判員制度 綿密な準備と検証を怠るな(223日付・読売社説)

Less than three months remain until the lay judge system starts in Japan. The new system will allow ordinary citizens to participate as judges in criminal trials that have until now been fought only among legal professionals.

 法律の専門家だけで行われてきた刑事裁判に国民が参加する裁判員制度の発足まで、あと3か月を切った。

The introduction of the lay judge system will be a turning point for the nation's judiciary, which has often been criticized for being closed to the public. Meticulous preparation to alleviate the anxieties and burdens of inexperienced lay judges will be required to usher in the new system smoothly.

 「閉鎖的」と批判されてきた日本の司法制度にとって、大きな転換点となる。円滑なスタートのためには、未経験の裁判員の不安や負担感を少しでもやわらげるよう細心の準備が必要だ。

 ◆課題は負担の軽減◆

The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to life imprisonment for killing a 23-year-old woman in Koto Ward, Tokyo. However, the trial stirred controversy when, as part of its visual evidence--apparently with the lay judge system in mind--the prosecution displayed color photographs of small pieces of the victim's dismembered body on a screen in the courtroom.

 東京地裁が18日に判決を言い渡した東京都江東区の女性殺害事件の裁判は、波紋を呼んだ。検察側は、裁判員制度を念頭に「目で見てわかる立証」として、細かく切断された遺体のカラー写真を法廷内のモニターで映し出した。

Of course, easy-to-understand presentation of evidence is needed to ensure the heinousness of a criminal case is appropriately reflected in the punishment. However, showing grisly photos will undoubtedly disturb citizen judges who are not used to seeing such images.

 事件の悪質性を量刑に適切に反映させるには、わかりやすい立証が欠かせない。だが、残酷な写真をふだん目にすることのない裁判員には、精神的な負担が重い。

According to a basic outline on the lay judge system compiled by the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, a prosecutor is advised to warn lay judges before presenting gruesome photos as evidence that they should steel themselves for what they are about to see. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will set up a 24-hour telephone line to provide psychological support to lay judges.

 最高検がまとめた裁判員制度における基本方針では、裁判員に証拠を示す前に、凄惨(せいさん)な写真が含まれていることを告げ、心の準備をしてもらうよう求めている。最高裁も、心のケアのため24時間体制の電話相談窓口を設ける。

We hope the courts and prosecutors will study further whether more support measures are necessary.

 こうした対策で十分かどうか、もっと検討してほしい。

===

Reducing burdens

People also might feel it very burdensome to get tied up for several days during the trial. Ninety percent of trials at which lay judges will be assigned are expected to end within five days. But after notices were sent from the end of November to 295,000 eligible voters informing them they had been chosen as lay judge candidates, a special call center was flooded with inquiries regarding what conditions could allow a person to decline their candidacy, among other matters.

 裁判に数日間拘束される負担感も、また大きい。

 裁判員対象事件の裁判は、9割が5日以内に終わるとみられる。だが、2008年11月末から裁判員候補者29万5000人に通知が送られると、専用コールセンターには「どんな場合に辞退できるのか」などの質問が相次いだ。

According to the lay judge law, senior citizens aged 70 or older, students, and people who are seriously sick or have severe impairments are among those who can decline to be lay judge candidates. However, judges, who personally interview candidates, will make decisions in many such cases.

 辞退できるのは、70歳以上の高齢者や学生、重い病気や傷害がある場合などと定められている。だが、候補者に面談する裁判官の判断に委ねられるケースは多い。

In the early stages of the system, judges should be flexible in allowing people to withdraw from consideration if they so wish.

 当面は柔軟に辞退を認める姿勢が、裁判官には求められよう。

The understanding of companies also will be critical in making the system run smoothly.

 企業などの理解も不可欠だ。

According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, more than 70 percent of 100 major companies said they will give paid holidays to employees chosen to be lay judges. However, a survey by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that only one-fourth of 300 small and midsize companies have introduced or are considering the introduction of a special-holiday system for employees chosen to be lay judges. These findings show much work remains to be done to develop a corporate environment that is accommodating of lay judges.

 読売新聞の主要100社アンケートでは7割余りが有給休暇を与えると答えたが、中小企業約300社を対象にした東京商工会議所の調査では、休暇制度を導入・検討しているのはまだ4分の1だ。一層の環境整備が求められる。

===

Laying the groundwork

Meanwhile, the judiciary has been making various preparations ahead of the start of the lay judge system.

 裁判員制度の導入を前に、司法は準備作業を進めてきた。

The introduction of pretrial summary procedures is one such development. During these procedures, judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers discuss likely points of contention and evidence before a trial starts in a bid to speed up the trial process. Under these procedures, the prosecution and the defense are not allowed in principle to request examination of new evidence once the trial starts.

 その一つが公判前整理手続きだ。審理を短期間で済ませるため、裁判官と検察官、弁護士で事前に争点を絞る。公判開始後は、検察側、弁護側ともに、原則として新たな証拠調べを請求できない。

According to a survey by the Supreme Court, murder and other criminal trials that would be subject to the lay judge system and went through pretrial summary procedures in 2007 finished in one-third of the time or less than trials that did not.

 最高裁の調査では、殺人など裁判員対象事件で、07年中にこの手続きを経た裁判は、他の裁判より3分の1以下に短くなった。

Some difficult legal terms have been paraphrased during trials to make hearings easier to understand. Prosecutors and the police have started recording some interrogations on audiotapes or videotapes to back up their cases.

 わかりやすい審理のため、難解な法律用語を言い換えたり、検察や警察が取り調べの一部を録音・録画したりするようになった。

Furthermore, prosecutors have set out a new policy to deal more strictly with perjury and threats against witnesses in the courtroom because testimony given at the court is considered more significant under the lay judge system.

 また、法廷でのやり取りが重視されるため、法廷でウソをついたり証人を脅したりする行為に検察は厳しく対処する方針を打ち出した。

One defendant was indicted for intimidating a witness this month at the Tokyo District Court after using abusive language toward his victim, who was appearing before the judge as a witness.

今月には、東京地裁で証人出廷した被害者に暴言を吐いた被告を証人威迫罪などで起訴した。

===

Truth trumps trial length

The introduction of the lay judge system was the result of discontent with what has been termed a "precise judiciary," in which cases rely on detailed fact-finding procedures. Though the system has helped unearth the truth in criminal cases, it often results in prolonged court proceedings.

 裁判員制度導入の背景には、詳細な事実認定を旨とする「精密司法」への反省があった。真実の解明に寄与する反面、審理の長期化を招いてきたためだ。

The leniency of penalties handed down to perpetrators of malicious crimes and accidents was one factor that fueled public distrust in the judiciary. Rulings that gave excessive consideration to precedents also sometimes betrayed the general public's desire to see heavier punishments meted out.

 悪質な事件・事故に対する量刑も、司法不信の一因だった。過去の判例を過度に重視した判決は、国民の素朴な処罰感情と隔たりが大きいこともあった。

The Justice System Reform Council, which proposed the introduction of the lay judge system, stated in its written opinion in 2001 that people's understanding of and support for the judiciary will deepen provided the healthy common sense of society is reflected in court decisions.

 「国民の健全な社会常識が反映されることで、司法への理解・支持が深まる」。裁判員制度を提言した司法制度改革審議会は、01年の意見書でこう述べた。

In a nutshell, criminal trials serve two purposes: to uncover the truth, and to appropriately and promptly apply criminal laws and legal regulations.

 刑事裁判には、真実を解明する役割と、刑罰法令を適正・迅速に適用する役割がある。

 ◆許されない拙速審理◆

Under the lay judge system, court proceedings will need to be carried out more swiftly than they are now. As a result, it likely will become more difficult to get into the finer details of a criminal's motive and background in rulings.

 裁判員制度の下では、これまで以上に迅速な審理が求められることになる。その分、判決で動機や背景に詳細に踏み込むのは、難しくなるだろう。

Nevertheless, it would be unacceptable to conduct court proceedings in a slipshod manner that neglects the court's responsibility to discover the truth.

 しかし、真実解明をなおざりにした拙速な審理は許されない。

The Hiroshima High Court decision in December on the 2005 murder of a 7-year-old girl in the city sounded an alarm bell to that effect. The court criticized a district court ruling for failing to specify the crime scene because it put priority on shortening the time for court proceedings. The high court dismissed the district court ruling and returned it to the lower court.

 その警鐘を鳴らしたのが、広島女児殺害事件での08年12月の広島高裁判決だ。犯行場所の特定を怠ったなどとして、審理短縮を優先した1審を批判した。

===

Judges will be put to the test

The Supreme Court was absolutely right to have pointed out in its report on mock trials held in preparation for the lay judge system that uncovering the truth is eminently more important than shortening the time spent on court proceedings. The ability of professional judges to show leadership during proceedings under the lay judge system also will be put to the test over such issues as whether sufficient discussions were held in pretrial summary procedures.

 最高裁が模擬裁判を分析した報告書で、「真相解明は審理期間の短縮以上に重要だ」と指摘したのは当然だろう。公判前整理手続きで十分協議したかなど、裁判官の訴訟指揮の力量も問われる。

A series of irregularities involving judges and a Family Court clerk have been exposed recently. Those in the judicial world should keep in mind that judges and court officials are the ones upon whom trust for the judicial system rests--a prerequisite for the people's participation in the lay judge system.

 最近、裁判官や家裁書記官による不祥事が相次いでいる。国民参加の前提となる司法への信頼を支えるのは、裁判官や裁判所職員であることを忘れてはなるまい。

The lay judge system is scheduled to be reviewed three years after it is put into practice, if necessary.

 裁判員制度は施行3年後に必要なら見直すことになっている。

The Supreme Court set up a panel of experts to verify how the lay judge system will be implemented. The Justice Ministry also plans to establish an organization tasked with examining the system and its implementation. It is essential that all parties concerned are ready to reform whatever needs to be changed, by going over the system with a fine-tooth comb and closely working with each other.

 最高裁は運用状況を検証する有識者会議を設けた。法務省も運用や制度を点検する組織を作る方針だ。徹底した検証作業のうえ、密接な連携を図って改めるべき点は改めていく姿勢が大切だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 23, 2009)

20092230148  読売新聞)

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