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    Japanese court finds judo coach guilty for inflicting serious injury on boy left with brain injury

    Cichorei Kano

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    Japanese court finds judo coach guilty for inflicting serious injury on boy left with brain injury

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sat May 03, 2014 3:02 am

    The Japan Times

    Judo coach guilty of hurting boy


    May 1, 2014

    NAGANO – The Nagano District Court has found a former judo coach guilty of inflicting a serious brain injury upon a student after a lay panel overturned an initial decision by prosecutors not to indict him.

    T.K., who faced a suspended one-year prison term, threw then-sixth-grader Musashi Sawada at a training hall in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in May 2008, leaving him with impaired consciousness caused by acute subdural hematoma, the indictment handed down Wednesday said.

    In the ruling, Presiding Judge Akira Ito said T.K. was at fault for “not considering the student’s skill level and build, and failed to apply the appropriate force.”

    “The defendant was obliged to pay close attention in giving the judo lesson, but he mistakenly threw and injured (Sawada),” Ito said. “It was serious negligence.”

    Local prosecutors declined to indict T.K. as they did not have evidence proving he could have foreseen the accident. But the special Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution twice decided he should be indicted, prompting lawyers appointed to act as prosecutors to mandatorily indict him in May 2013.

    The rarely used inquest system has been criticized as a form of double jeopardy.

    Comment C.K.: This verdict is important and has probably taken into account recent bad press of violence in judo teaching in Japan. It sets a precedent for parents who want to prosecute judo authorities in case their kid ended up with a serious injury that was not merely accidental but the cause of neglect of ill will. Ultimately, it pleads for good instructor and coaching eduction and an awareness of proper pedagogical skills in judo instructors and coaches.

    Whether judicial procedures were fair in a context of double jeopardy --irrespective of guilt and responsibility-- is something else, but I leave that to Stacey to comment on if she wishes to do so.


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