裁判員判決 検証の積み重ねが欠かせない

Lay judge system should be monitored, improved
The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 7, 2009)
裁判員判決 検証の積み重ねが欠かせない(8月7日付・読売社説)

The nation's first lay judge trial has ended. Many more trials in which ordinary citizens participate as lay judges in criminal cases are expected to follow across the country.
 裁判員が関与した初の裁判が終了した。今後も全国で裁判が相次ぐ。

It is vital that people in the judicial world look for any shortcomings or problems in lay judge trials, including the one that just ended Thursday, and rectify them so the lay judge system can be improved.
法曹関係者は今回も含め、問題点を洗い出して検証し、裁判員制度を改善していくことが肝要である。

The first lay judge trial dealt with a murder that took place on a Tokyo street in May. A 72-year-old man had been accused of stabbing to death his 66-year-old female neighbor with a survival knife.
 審理されたのは、東京で5月に起きた路上殺人事件だった。66歳の女性をサバイバルナイフで刺殺したとして、近所の72歳の男が殺人罪に問われた。

The Tokyo District Court courtroom where the trial was conducted looked completely different to courtrooms in the past. Three professional judges in robes were flanked by six lay judges wearing their everyday clothes.
 東京地裁の法廷は様変わりした。法服姿の3人の裁判官の両脇に私服の裁判員6人が並んだ。

Prosecutors and lawyers showed images on monitors and paraphrased hard-to-comprehend technical terms with plain language.
 検察官と弁護人はモニターに画像を映し、難解な専門用語を平易な言葉に言い換えた。

As one example, a prosecutor explained that a "defensive wound"--which was found on the woman's body--is an injury sustained when a victim tries to use their hand, arm or other body part to block an assault by an assailant with a sharp weapon.
 検察官が被害者の「防御創」について、「刃物で刺されそうになった時、とっさに手で受け止めようとしてできる傷のこと」と説明したのは、その典型だ。

We welcome such changes because they will help the general public more easily understand what is discussed during trials.
裁判の内容が一般にも分かりやすくなったのは、歓迎すべきことである。

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Heavy burdens

The trial focused on determining the punishment for the defendant, who had admitted to killing the woman. The crux of the decision centered on to what degree the defendant had intended to kill the woman.
 被告は犯行を認めていたため、裁判の争点は量刑に絞られていた。どれだけ強い殺意を持って被害者を刺したかが、量刑を決めるポイントだった。

One lay judge asked the defendant why he decided to go and fetch a knife while he was quarreling with the victim. Such questions indicated the lay judges' willingness to determine for themselves the degree of the defendant's intent to commit murder.
 裁判員は、「言い争いになった時、なぜナイフを持っていこうと思ったのか」などと被告に問いかけた。殺意の度合いを見極めようという姿勢がうかがえた。

While prosecutors demanded a 16-year term of imprisonment, the court sentenced the defendant to 15 years in prison, acknowledging that he stabbed the woman with a strong intent despite being aware that doing so would result in her death. The court handed down a ruling in line with the argument put forward by prosecutors.
 懲役16年の求刑に対し、判決は懲役15年だった。「死亡させると分かりながら、強い攻撃意思を持って刺した」と認定した。検察側の主張に沿った判断である。

During the four-day trial, a female lay judge averted her eyes when images of the victim's body were shown on a monitor. Another female judge was unable to appear in court on the third day because she was feeling unwell due to a cold. She was replaced with a male "supplementary" lay judge.
 4日間の公判では、遺体の写真をモニターで見た女性裁判員が、目をそらす場面があった。別の女性裁判員は風邪で体調を崩し、男性の補充裁判員に交代した。

The daily trial undoubtedly placed a heavy strain on lay judges. In cases when lay judges are asked to make even tougher decisions, such as choosing between the death penalty or an indefinite prison term, they likely will bear an even heavier burden.
 連日の公判が、裁判員にとって大きな負担であったことは間違いあるまい。死刑か無期懲役かの判断などを迫られる裁判では、負担は、さらに増すだろう。

In this regard, the Supreme Court must do everything it can to take care of the lay judges' mental condition, such as ensuring the smooth operation of the counseling service counter that has been set up to give advice to lay judges.
 最高裁は、既に設置した電話相談窓口を円滑に機能させるなど、裁判員の心のケア対策に万全を期していく必要がある。

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Weighty responsibility

Another issue that needs careful consideration is how to select lay judges.
 裁判員の選考方法も検討課題といえよう。

In the Tokyo District Court trial, the six lay judges randomly chosen by the court turned out to be five women and one man. But for trials on cases involving sex offenses, we wonder whether the age and gender balance of the lay judges could subtly affect rulings.
今回、地裁が無作為で選んだ裁判員は、女性5人、男性1人だったが、性犯罪などの裁判で、男女の比率や年齢構成が偏ると、判決内容に微妙な影響が及ぶことはないだろうか。

After the ruling Thursday, the six lay judges and a supplementary citizen judge attended a press conference. "I sincerely felt the heavy responsibility I bore in judging a person," one said.
 判決後、裁判員全員が会見に応じ、「人を裁くという重大なことを担わされている思いをひしひしと感じた」などと語った。

This comment should be kept in mind, given that any of us could be asked to serve as a lay judge any time soon.
いつ自分が選ばれるか分からないだけに、裁判員の生の声は、大いに参考になるはずだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 7, 2009)
(2009年8月7日01時15分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-07 08:27 | 英字新聞

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