crime

Driver who hit and killed 3 nurses to face lighter charge of involuntary manslaughter

18 Comments

An 18 year-old man who hit and killed three nurses with his car while they were waiting at a traffic light on June 1 will be brought to trial in family court on a charge of involuntary manslaughter with a motor vehicle, authorities said Tuesday.

Relatives of the victims had hoped the man, who cannot be named because he is a minor, would face a charge of vehicular homicide. The younger sister of one of the victims said, "If that's not dangerous driving, then what is? The laws are in place, but they're no good if they don't apply."

According to police, the suspect, who had got his driver's license just one week earlier, hit the three nurses while they were waiting at a crossing in Yokohama's Tsuzuki Ward. Due to the seriousness of the accident, the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor originally considered charging him with vehicular homicide.

It was determined however, that there was no proof the driver "intentionally ignored the traffic signal," prompting the prosecutor to change the charge to involuntary manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

© News reports

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18 Comments
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Unbelieveable. How can this be happening in Japan?

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crazy _ I feel for the families

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doesn't the japanese legal system already discriminate between murder and premeditated murder? if so, surely the former is applicable in this case? or does murder in japan have to be premedidated and if so surely all man slaughter therefore must be involuntary? it makes no sense

furthermore shouldn't someone be asking questions about the school that taught this boy to drive? as is often noticed, most driving schools seem to be rackets designed to extract the maximum income from students with little or no attention paid to producing safe and capable drivers

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Is this the same case? When this was being discussed a couple of weeks ago here on JT, I seem to remember the insinuation of alcohol being involved.

Irrespective of whether it was or not, however, I am not in favor of this kid getting cut any slack at the current time. People are dead and this chap has to be held responsible.

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The laws are in place, but they’re no good if they don’t apply.”

An interesting comment for Japan. Isn't there anything the victims' families can do? What's the name of the driving school?

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Did he voluntarily get in the car and drive toward the intersection? I would say so. Why should he be given another opportunity at life (he will be released within a few years if he goes to jail at all) when the three ladies he killed won't have that chance! And yes, perhaps the driving school should be investigated given the short-time (I beleve) since he attained his licence to kill!

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It was determined however, that there was no proof the driver “intentionally ignored the traffic signal,” prompting the prosecutor to change the charge to involuntary manslaughter with a motor vehicle.

We must not forget that Justice is blind. Yes this was tragic, but if he did not intentionally ignore the signal then he should be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The was a tragic accident that the young man must live with the rest of his days.

I feel for all families involved, very sad all the way around.

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There's way too much coddling of the guilty in Japan, especially the so-called under-20 "youths" who commit grievous crimes, whether premeditated or not. Include the overuse of "suspended sentences" in here too. Treating everyone with an "Oh, they really didn't mean to do it so let's treat him/her nicely" mentality won't do much for overall respect for the law in the long run.

Why does it seem so hard for so many in Japan to simply take responsibility for their actions? Sometimes it seems the justice system in Japan is amazingly naive, as well. Sometimes the best eyes are those outside the system, who can see things from a broader perspective. Then again, I'm not a citizen of Japan, so my opinions are probably worth squat in many Japanese peoples' eyes, but still, am I expecting too much?

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The was a tragic accident that the young man must live with the rest of his days.

Will he though? He was driving out of control and dangerously with little or no regard for the innocent people around him - doesn't sound like the kind of guy who will live with regrest for the rest of his days to me. And this charge is hardly going to encourage other 18 year olds to think twice before they decide they are super-skilled drivers.

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Sorry, but the sentence "hit three nurses while they were waiting at a crossing" implies that they were on the sidewalk. If that's the case, whether he intentionally missed the traffic signal or not is only one factor, how about the fact that he WENT OFF THE ROAD!?!

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The issue here is intent. Did he intend to cause harm to the women? Probably not. Did he use a weapon? Nope. Drugs or alcohol? Apparently not. He lost control of his car and ended up killing people. That fits the definition of involuntary manslaughter very well. I still hope the judge throws the book at him (not likely after a good apology) but the prosecution has a better chance of winning the case this way. They couldn't prove intent so they can't prove murder.

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Hey! Didn't this joker do a runner too? I see no mention of charges for that. - He is a very lucky boy to have his charges lessened. I wonder who his father is?

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I also wonder who he is related to? We will never know since he can't be named, how convenient.

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ca1ic0cat: "Apparently not. He lost control of his car and ended up killing people. That fits the definition of involuntary manslaughter very well."

Damn... except for a few factors, namely that he went through a red light, and if he lost control it means he was probably speeding or jerked the wheel in that direction; either way it was extreme negligence and out of control driving to hit and kill three nurses ON THE SIDEWALK! How on earth did the vehicle go out of control? It wasn't car error, I can tell you that much.

Another sick instance of the Japanese courts giving out incredibly light sentences for the graveness of the crime committed. "Intenionally ignoring" something is a redundancy; or should I say, you cannot "involuntarily ignore" something. The kid knew he was going through a red light, or else he didn't know and should never have passed any tests, in which case the driving school is also negligent.

Anyway, no surprises here. More vehicular deaths and more support for the murderer than the families of the victims.

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And anyway, shouldn't it be THREE cases of involuntary manslaughter, not just 'a charge of'?

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Damn... except for a few factors, namely that he went through a red light, and if he lost control it means he was probably speeding or jerked the wheel in that direction; either way it was extreme negligence and out of control driving to hit and kill three nurses ON THE SIDEWALK! How on earth did the vehicle go out of control? It wasn't car error, I can tell you that much.

Nope. He hit a car who was making a right turn from the opposite side causing his car to sway on the sidewalk.

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It probably should be three counts, not one. Maybe there's a difference in J-law that makes it per incident rather than per victim? I don't know for sure.

Per what Nigel said, he didn't run the light with intent to kill. He ended up killing the women because he made a stupid decision. That's the difference between murder and manslaughter.

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If I remember rightly, part-way across the junction, he collided with another car crossing his path. His car then careered aross the junction and onto the sidewalk, which suggests he was moving quite fast. Did he speed up to sneak through just after the lights had changed to red? Very plausible and I reckon that should be considered dangerous driving. Was he really not aware of the red light against him? That too is plausible but implies that he simply wasn't paying anywhere near enough attention to driving. I reckon he must have been very close to the threshold of dangerous driving.

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