Girl to undergo psychiatric exam over killing of classmate

Kyodo

The Nagasaki Family Court decided Monday to conduct a psychiatric examination on an 11-year-old schoolgirl who has admitted to killing her classmate with a box cutter at their primary school earlier this month, her lawyers said.

A three-judge panel at the Sasebo branch of the family court here made the decision at a 35-minute closed hearing during the trial of the sixth-grader, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor. The lawyers requested the psychiatric examination on Friday.

It is highly unusual for a psychiatric examination to be conducted on an elementary school pupil.

The girl’s parents were present at Monday’s hearing, which was held at the juvenile facility where the girl is being held, the lawyers said.

The examination is aimed at uncovering the motive and background to the case, as well as the girl’s psychological state at the time of the slaying, officials said.

Lawyers Mitsuo Hazama and Nozomu Kawazoe said they hope the psychiatric examination will help produce results that could contribute to the girl’s correction and ease the concern of parents who have children of the same generation. The trial will be suspended until the court has the results of the examination, which could take several months to complete.

Under juvenile law, the girl will not be held criminally responsible because she is younger than 14, but she might be sent to a juvenile correctional institution after her trial.

The girl admitted killing classmate Satomi Mitarai, 12, on June 1, by using a box cutter to slash her throat in an empty classroom.

“I don’t know whether a psychiatric examination can really uncover what is at the bottom of a human heart,” said Kyoji Mitarai, the father of the slain girl, in a statement.

“But I hope the examination will find some clues as to why she had to kill Satomi. Then I want her to squarely face the facts, and I also hope the examination will produce substantial outcome that will help both children and adults to think about the incident,” he said.