crime

Case dropped against mother whose son died in bicycle accident

21 Comments

The Yokohama District Court has decided not to proceed with a case against a woman whose 16-month-old son died after hitting his head when the electric bicycle they were on toppled over.

Police had referred the case to prosecutors in mid-September, after having arrested the 38-year-old woman on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The court did not give a reason why it was dropping the case.

The incident occurred in July. The woman, a nursery school teacher, was riding her electric bicycle when she lost her balance in Yokahama’s Tsuzuki Ward, Fuji TV reported. At the time, her 16-month-old youngest son was strapped to the front of her body in a baby sling and died after hitting his head in the fall.

Her three-year-old son, who was also on the bike, was unhurt.

An umbrella that was hanging from the mother’s left hand is believed to have gotten caught in the bicycle’s wheel.

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21 Comments
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I think that they first need to crack down on this dangerous behavior as well as provide the public with clear information before prosecuting such cases. To me, it's common sense not to ride around with a baby in a sling - not to mention a 16-month old, which is quite big and well past the age of being able to sit up with a helmet. But since this behavior is so rampant, it's obviously not clear to the populace. If there was a crack down, then they could/should proceed with prosecutions based on the people being well-informed and educated about this danger.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Certainly enforcing the traffic laws and preventive action would be more effective. (Predictive text just changed traffic law in to tragic law, does it know something I don’t?).

Punishment in these particular circumstances serves no useful purpose.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ rainyday: The law says it is okay to use a sling for one child and one in a child seat

幼児用座席に幼児を1人乗車させ、幼児1人をひも等で確実に背負って16歳以上の者が運転する場合

@ Do the hustle: Which law was she breaking?

@ nakanoguy01 Why reckless endangerment?

@ Ascissor What should she have been punished for? Carrying (not using) an umbrella?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think it is the right decision not to prosecute her, at the end of the day she has got to live with that guilt, anguish for the rest of her life, thats far worse than any fine, or prison time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

expat

Sue who? The cops for not doing their job? I don't thinks that's possible, but she'd probably have a good case.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@cracaphat

I hate reading similar to the above preface.

So jog on and don't bother replying then.

You said nothing to contribute in your comment.

I hate it when people do that ;)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I agree there's little point in punishing the mother now. Parents who do what she was doing need to be punished BEFORE the worst comes to the worst. But this will only happen when pigs learn how to fly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is plenty sick that she was charged with manslaughter even though she showed that she wasn't even thinking or trying to kill her baby. It was an accident. An unfortunate one too, but certain powers saw it as a reason to punish her. I'm so happy that this feasible case dropped.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I know others will stick the boot in for me saying this...

I hate reading similar to the above preface.Just say what you want and leave it at that.What you said wasn't ground-breaking,but very much most decent people's thoughts.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

She should sue.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I don't get it. So many of you rail against Japanese parents being so reckless with their children (e.g. not buckling them up in cars, not placing helmets on them while biking , etc.), but when one of their reckless actions causes the death of their child, suddenly it would have been unjust to prosecute them. FYI a 16 month-old child is old enough to sit in a bike seat and definitely old enough to wear a helmet. This was a preventable tragedy on so many levels if the mom had any common sense.

> So I'm not sure she should have been charged with manslaughter, but at the bare minimum reckless endangerment of a child.

What would the point be? I mean, the woman lost her child. What purpose would further punishing her serve?

Yup, I'll rail against parents (not just in Japan) being reckless with their children, and I am absolutely in favor of the police proactively cracking down on unsafe driving/cycling by parents with kids not buckled up, or carrying babies in a sling as in this case, etc. But by "cracking down" I mean common sense preventive stuff like stopping people on the street who are doing that and issuing tickets, which is probably way more effective than anything that could be achieved by prosecuting this mother. There is no need to make an example of her because she is already an example: no parent in their right mind is going to read this story and have any other reaction than horror and a commitment to never doing what she did, with or without prosecution.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So I'm not sure she should have been charged with manslaughter, but at the bare minimum reckless endangerment of a child.

I think it's more ethical (in a legal/moral sense) to be strict on perpetrators before any perceivable incident. In this case (post traumatic incident), it better serves society in general to be lenient. Even better for all charges to be dropped IMO.

That said, I think the Police could/should be more strict on road safety in general. It seems that the main crime they target is 信号無視 (shingomushi - jaywalking). Efforts are better placed elsewhere.

I think the Yokohama District Court made a sensible decision here FWIW.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't get it. So many of you rail against Japanese parents being so reckless with their children (e.g. not buckling them up in cars, not placing helmets on them while biking , etc.), but when one of their reckless actions causes the death of their child, suddenly it would have been unjust to prosecute them. FYI a 16 month-old child is old enough to sit in a bike seat and definitely old enough to wear a helmet. This was a preventable tragedy on so many levels if the mom had any common sense.

So I'm not sure she should have been charged with manslaughter, but at the bare minimum reckless endangerment of a child.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'll just add this...

SHAME on the Japanese police for referring this case for criminal prosecution in the first place.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Perhaps the courts feel the death of her son is enough punishment.

Japan does have strict laws about bicycle use, but they are pretty much ignored by most riders and very loosely enforced by the cops. This death was an accident, but if she had been following the law it would not have happened.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@rainyday and maybeperhapsyes - +1 from me. Nothing to add.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I know others will stick the boot in for me saying this, but this was the right decision to make. The mother will live with the "life sentence" of what she has done. Nobody here can possibly wish any more torment on her. She has another son that she needs to care for now.

I won't stick it to you mate. You're 100% correct.

RIP to the little lad.

Good on you for saying that, and hope that poor mother and her family can find some way to move on.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I'm so glad they're not continuing with this. The death of her toddler was more than punishment enough - it'll haunt her for the rest of her life. Jail or fines would be petty and unnecessary to teach her or any others "a lesson".

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Sad to say, it won't change those that still do it.  Just like the parents who buckle-up but let their toddlers stand between the front seats in the middle of the car  waiting to smash their head into the windscreen when the crash happens.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I know others will stick the boot in for me saying this, but this was the right decision to make. The mother will live with the "life sentence" of what she has done. Nobody here can possibly wish any more torment on her. She has another son that she needs to care for now.

RIP to the little lad.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

It would have been particularly cruel and unnecessary to have proceeded with this case against her.

The facts of the incident serve as a powerful warning about the dangers of carrying a toddler in a sling while riding a bike, which people should never do.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

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