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crime

Fukuoka man cleared of theft charges because he was 'only borrowing' victim’s bike

28 Comments
By SoraNews24

We all know the cliche excuse when someone is caught red-handed stealing something: “I was just borrowing it.”

However, according to a judgement in Fukuoka District Court on Sept 28, an interesting legal precedent was set when a man was found not guilty of theft after successfully demonstrating that he was just repeatedly borrowing a bicycle without permission from the parking area of a housing complex.

On June 8, the 24-year-old suspect was riding a bike when he was stopped by police for routine questioning. Upon learning that the bicycle didn’t belong to the man, the officer arrested him for theft. Since the man was currently on parole for a previous theft charge, this charge would likely result in heavy penalties.

In the ensuing trial, the man explained that after being released from prison he moved into the housing complex in question and noticed an unlocked bike in its parking area. So, he would use the bike to go to the supermarket or convenience store, usually for about an hour at a time, and always put it back where he found it.

At the time he was stopped for questioning, the man had been using the bike for about 12 hours. Still, the judge ruled that on the basis of his previous usage, half a day was “not beyond the scope of borrowing.”

It was an unexpected ruling, and readers of the news online didn’t quite know what to make of it.

“That is a groundbreaking decision.”

“This is the kind of case they would use in law school.”

“So if he used it for more than 12 hours, then it would become theft?”

“What about the wear to the tires, rims, and frame? He is shortening the life of the bike.”

“I wonder how this will affect the rental car case.”

“Is that judge okay?”

“I think you can easily see how wrong this decision is if you simply replace ‘bicycle’ with ‘panties.’“

“I guess we’ve become a communist country now.”

“Okay, it might not be ‘theft’ exactly, but it’s definitely bad.”

“As someone who’s a layperson with the law, this ruling doesn’t make sense, but I wonder what a lawyer would think of it.”

A prosecutor for the case told media, “after examining the ruling and consulting with higher agencies, we will respond appropriately,” which is lawyer-speak for “once we figure out what just happened, we’ll know what to do.”

As many comments mentioned, even if it’s not technically theft, it is definitely wrong and should be in violation of some law. It could be said that the suspect was robbing the owner of his bike’s longevity through wear and tear, and there’s also the catch-all “obstruction of business” law that’s usually good at accounting for criminal oddities like this.

Regardless, while we try to find the legal definition for what happened, hopefully this serves as a reminder to always lock your bicycles and unicycles. Even if they don’t get stolen, you never know what’s being done to them.

Source: Nishinippon ShimbunHachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Man in Fukuoka arrested for shoplifting a 49-inch TV weighing 12 kilos

-- Man found innocent of molesting charges by claiming he was pickpocketing

-- Aichi man arrested again after having slashed over 1,000 women’s tires to get to know them better

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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Clearly the missing part is the “Excuse me, may I use your bicycle?” Question.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Clearly the missing part is the “Excuse me, may I use your bicycle?” Question.

I would say the judge probably feels that not locking your bicycle means the same as "Excuse me, may I use your bicycle". I've heard the same for cars. If you leave the keys in the car then you are saying it is OK to use my car. Can't say I agree, just an observation.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I think all criminals need his defense attorney. He argued theft in a way that makes sense.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Let me "borrow" the judge's Toyoto Century.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

we Are all born into this world with no material possessions. Therefore all material objects should be shared freely with all people.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Can I do that with my neighbor's Porsche?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I got my bike knocked over many times when visiting super markets, restaurants, etc, sometimes getting a broken mirror, or a broken brake handle, and air let out of tires, and rear rim cracked, and bike basket cover slashed. Be careful where you park your bike, from the loser watching bums. I also now chain my bike up to a fence rail, to make it harder to knock over, and try to park in easy view, and come out to check on it. -dam shame.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It’s simply cheaper for the tax payer to let him go with it than to construct and fill up dozens of new prisons throughout the country for him and similar ‘small’ cases like this one, shoplifting elderlies for example. All those people want to be caught and fully supported in the prisons nowadays.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I always rode bicycle carried receipt from the Bicycle shop and park in the guarded station bike parking and locked.

Also, put my bike in the apartment. So I never lost my bike.

Why didn't owner locked the bike?

I give away my almost as new bicycle to Akabou driver who want to buy for his son when I moved back to Kameari, Katsushika-ku from Saitama-ken. I gave him bike receipt too when gave my bike to the Akabou driver. Bike shop receipt is very important to carry with you. Otherwise, Police will ask many question and invite you to Koban.

He cannot take bike without owner permission. He had stolen the bike regardless of put it back or not.

Also, he broke the parole condition regardless of he returned bike to where he took it. It was theft.

Also, he was criminal and was relessed from prison with parole.

Good on you Judge. The thief was lucky with judge this time.

I know some thief will dump the bike when he finished his journey.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Stupid, self righteous judge! Its not up to him to decide if its theft or borrowing! Its up to the owner of the bicycle!

And if they cannot locate the owner? Then they have proof of nothing and this should not have even gone to trial. If they cannot locate the owner then its quite likely the bicycle was abandoned and as such, now belongs to the man. But if we do not allow that maybe the bicycle was abandoned, then a change from one hour of unpermitted use to 12 hours is a HUGE deviation that certainly does indicate intent to keep the bicycle.

But most people are going to agree that any borrowing without consent is too close to theft to quibble about. If its not then I should get no charges or jail time for refusing to pay fees on a rental. Pure insanity. Or maybe this "judge" is so old its dementia?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Is it also possible to borrow a stranger's car or bed without asking?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

we Are all born into this world with no material possessions. Therefore all material objects should be shared freely with all people.

Really. You wont mind if I borrow your credit card for 12 hours then. No?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

But most people are going to agree that any borrowing without consent is too close to theft to quibble about. If its not then I should get no charges or jail time for refusing to pay fees on a rental. Pure insanity. Or maybe this "judge" is so old its dementia?

Agreed. And what if the bicycle’s owner had plans and needed to use his own bicycle - but its been taken for 12 hours and counting?

An absurd ruling. The judge’s competence needs to be re-evaluated.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I need a bank loan. Can I go behind the counter and help myself?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I need a bank loan. Can I go behind the counter and help myself?

Oh yes you can !!! Just don't forget to apply lemon juice on your face....( Lol )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting case. The legal definition of theft in many jurisdictions in Australia includes ‘intent to permanently deprive the owner of something’. Shoplifters usually say they had no intention to return items they stole so are charged with theft.

Car thieves are usually charged with ‘taking motor vehicle without consent as they just want a joy ride.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is all because of bike companies being too greedy and making it just too expensive. Can't they build good quality at low price.

Why the frame has to be such expensive i don't understand, it's just metal. The other tough metal items aren't pricey.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Still, the judge ruled that on the basis of his previous usage, half a day was “not beyond the scope of borrowing.”

Remind me never to move to this judge's town.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

BackpackingNepal..... You seem to have a great business model. When are you going to start your “good quality, low price” bicycle range? :)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Really. You wont mind if I borrow your credit card for 12 hours then. No?

Bad example, really.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can I do that with my neighbor's Porsche?

Seems so if you are in Fukuoka and the keys are in the car, but you might get into trouble for "driving without insurance" so be careful. Make sure you get the policy on your neighbour's Porsche in order first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Theft Act 1968 (UK); Japan's must be similar.

Basic definition of theft

S. (1)

A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly."

Consequently:

"man was found not guilty of theft after successfully demonstrating that he was just repeatedly borrowing a bicycle without permission from the parking area of a housing complex."

As successfully demonstrated there was no intention to permanently deprive as the bike had been always returned following each "borrowing".

The Right Honourable was correct.

Let's hear from the Nihongo extraordinaire.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting case. The legal definition of theft in many jurisdictions in Australia includes ‘intent to permanently deprive the owner of something’.

I was about to post something similar. It does come down to the definition of theft. If the bike is always returned the same day, and this can be evidenced, then it can only be classified as borrowing without consent.

What he did was wrong, but it wasn't theft.

Some friends of mine got picked up by the police for taking bikes for a quick ride late at night while waiting for the last train home. They were drunk, of course, and the police accepted that they were not attempting to steal them

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Really. You wont mind if I borrow your credit card for 12 hours then. No?

He was being sarcastic. He is a right-winger, so would probably prefer a biblical punishment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LOL here we go with another news about bikes getting stollen. Very common in Japan. Too lazy to walk from the trainstation let me go find a unlocked mamachari and head home. And Japan is pretty peaceful country so the jcops are bored and have nothing better to do than intentionally try to capture a guy riding a stolen bike because why its soo common in Japan. Funny story thought first time i here not getting panalized. I wonder how long they stick you in prison for stealing a bike?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm guessing there was no owner in sight The original owner probably left it when moving, so the criminal wasn't hurting anyone (this time). If that is the case, it would be ridiculous to charge him, even if it wasn't registered in his name. Of course we'll never no for sure because the article doesn't say anything about the bike's owner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder, was the owner arrested for repeatedly making false claims of a Stolen bicycle ?

I can just see it now, owner finds bicycle gone in the morning, reports it to the Police during his lunch break, comes back in the evening to meet the Police at his apartment, only to find the bicycle where he left it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bike shop receipt is very important to carry with you. Otherwise, Police will ask many question and invite you to Koban.

Really? why register it in the first place then? is kinda stupid to have to keep carrying the receipt for something you bought and register already.

Is the same as if i buy a phone and i have to carry the receipt because probably a stupid lazy police creep stops me to wander if my phone is mine.. or i will have to go to the koban... that´s just bullsh...t

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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