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2013年2月22日 (金)

明石歩道橋事故 強制起訴の課題示す免訴判決

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 22, 2013)
Ruling highlights problems in mandatory indictment system
明石歩道橋事故 強制起訴の課題示す免訴判決(2月21日付・読売社説)

It was a bitter pill for relatives of the victims in the July 2001 crush incident in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, who sought criminal responsibility for a former police officer in charge of crowd control at a fireworks show.
 雑踏警備の監督責任者に刑罰を科すことを求めてきた遺族にとっては、厳しい結論だ。

The Kobe District Court on Wednesday dismissed a case in which a former deputy chief at the Akashi Police Station was indicted over failing to prevent the fatal accident on a pedestrian overpass that killed 11 people. A prosecution inquest committee had decided on the mandatory indictment in this case.
 2001年7月、花火大会の見物客11人が死亡した兵庫県明石市の歩道橋事故で、神戸地裁は、強制起訴された明石署元副署長に「免訴」を言い渡した。

The ruling effectively acquitted the defendant by ending the trial.
 裁判を打ち切り、元副署長を事実上、無罪とする判決である。

Based on the decision by the prosecution inquest committee, the former deputy chief was indicted on suspicion of professional negligence causing injury and death over the accident, as he allegedly shared complicity with a former officer at the station who was directly responsible for crowd control. The latter received a prison sentence.
 元副署長は、警備の現場責任者だった明石署の元地域官(実刑確定)と共犯関係にあったとして、検察審査会の議決により、業務上過失致死傷罪で強制起訴された。

This was the first case in which the mandatory indictment system was applied since its introduction in 2009.
09年導入の強制起訴制度が適用となった初めてのケースだった。

The ruling concluded the five-year statute of limitations had expired by the time of the mandatory indictment in April 2010. The court apparently had no other choice but to dismiss the case as it found the statute of limitations had run out.
 判決は、強制起訴された10年4月の時点で、時効(5年)が成立していたと判断した。時効が成立していれば、免訴とするしか選択肢はなかったと言える。

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Questions on statute of limitations

Court-appointed lawyers who served as prosecutors insisted the statute of limitations had not expired, citing the fact that the former officer--with whom they said the former deputy chief was complicit--was on trial at that time, and the Criminal Procedure Code that stipulates the period is interrupted during the trial of an accomplice.
 検察官役の指定弁護士は、「共犯関係にある元地域官は当時、公判中だったため、刑事訴訟法の規定により、元副署長の時効は成立していない」と主張していた。

Wednesday's ruling, however, denied the former deputy chief's fault. "He did not get any request from officers working at the scene to prevent more people coming onto the overpass," the ruling said. "It was also difficult for him to assess the danger by watching security cameras at the station."
 これに対し、判決はまず元副署長の過失を否定した。「現場から歩道橋への流入規制要請はなく、署内のモニターでも危険は察知できなかった」との理由からだ。

The ruling also concluded that the former deputy chief was not complicit with his subordinate because he did not bear any fault, thus acknowledging the statute of limitations had run out in this case.
 その上で、過失がない以上、元地域官との共犯関係も存在しない、として時効成立を認めた。

Even if the former deputy chief escapes criminal responsibility, however, the police were obviously at fault over their security and safety measures for the fireworks display, given the accident's serious casualties.
 しかし、刑事責任は別としても、被害の甚大さから見て、警察の警備や安全対策に落ち度があったことは間違いない。

The ruling also pointed out that the police had an inadequate security plan for the event, saying, "The use of authority by the deputy chief--who was supposed to assist the chief of the police station--was insufficient."
判決も「署長の補佐役である副署長の権限行使は不十分だった」と批判し、警備計画の不備も指摘した。

After the fatal crush, the National Police Agency told prefectural police to appoint officers to oversee crowd control measures. It is most important to take every possible measure to prevent the recurrence of a similar accident.
 事故後、警察庁は、雑踏警備の指導責任者を新たに置くよう全国の警察に通達を出した。再発防止の徹底が何より重要である。

There have been seven mandatory indictment cases nationwide, and Wednesday's ruling was the fourth handed down by a district court. So far, only one guilty sentence has been given in a case involving the mayor of Ishii, Tokushima Prefecture.
 強制起訴は全国で7件あり、1審判決は今回で4件目だった。これまでに有罪判決は、徳島県石井町の町長の1件のみだ。

===

Excessive burden on lawyers

These cases, including the former deputy chief's one, have revealed one problem in the mandatory indictment system--the excessive burdens on court-appointed lawyers.
 今回の裁判も含め、共通した問題点は、指定弁護士にかかる過度な負担だろう。

It is not easy for them to gather the evidence necessary to win a guilty sentence in cases prosecutors decided to drop.
検察が不起訴とした事件で、有罪を得る証拠を集めるのは容易でない。

Therefore, it may be worthwhile to study creating a framework under which assistant officers for prosecutors can help court-appointed lawyers in examining evidence and other related work.
検察事務官に証拠分析などを補佐させる仕組みを検討すべきではないか。

It is important to provide legal advice to members of prosecution inquest committees, who are selected from members of the public. This becomes more important when they deal with cases like the former deputy chief's, in which the focus was put on whether the statute of limitations had expired by the time of indictment.
 一般市民が務める検察審委員に対しては、法律的助言が大切だ。時効がポイントとなった今回のような場合は、なおさらである。

In this sense, one lawyer is not enough to serve as an assistant to a prosecution inquest committee.
助言するのが審査補助員の弁護士1人だけでは十分とは言えまい。

To help the mandatory indictment system take root, it is crucial to review trials of relevant cases and improve flaws in the system.
 強制起訴制度を根付かせるには、裁判例を検証し、課題を改善していくことが欠かせない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 21, 2013)
(2013年2月21日02時00分  読売新聞)

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