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The defense counsel for a 17-year-old boy charged with hijacking a bus on May 3-4, murder and attempted murder has asked the Saga Family Court to conduct formal psychiatric tests on the youth, sources close to the case said Thursday.

The counsel, which comprises three lawyers belonging to the Hiroshima Bar Association, filed a 10-page petition Wednesday requesting the tests.

The boy’s case was transferred Wednesday to the Saga Family Court following a decision by the Hiroshima Family Court that the former facility is in a better position to handle the case because the youth is from Saga and the details of his life there must be scrutinized.

The Saga Family Court decided Wednesday to appoint five court investigators to conduct a detailed study of the boy’s psychological state and physical condition by interviewing the boy’s family members, school officials and doctors at the hospital where he had been hospitalized, sources said.

The youth was arrested May 4 in Hiroshima Prefecture after commandeering a Fukuoka-bound bus from Saga on the afternoon of May 3.

He allegedly stabbed a 68-year-old woman to death and injured five other passengers, two of them seriously, during the hijacking.

Reformatory-bound

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Nagoya Family Court on Thursday ordered the leader of a group of minors who extorted some 50 million yen from a 15-year-old Nagoya boy to be sent to a reformatory.

Judge Yoshihiko Iwata said the 16-year-old youth, whose name is being withheld under the Juvenile Law, should go to a reformatory because, considering his age, he needs to be taught kindness and tenderness.

The court also decided to send another 16-year-old member of the gang to the reformatory, which is for minors between the ages of 16 and 19.

The second teen was deeply involved in the extortion, but the environment in which he grew up was partly to blame for his behavior, Judge Masaru Saito said.

The two youths were among 10 arrested in the case. The victim — then a third-year student at a junior high school in Aichi Prefecture — was forced to hand over about 50 million yen over an eight-month period up until February.

He was beaten on a number of occasions and suffered a broken rib and nose.

The Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office is believed to have asked the family court to send the two young perpetrators to a district court in order to face a criminal trial.

It is unusual for prosecutors to make such a request in cases that do not involve murder or other serious crimes.