The Toyama District Court handed a suspended prison sentence Thursday to a woman who made 12,000 harassing phone calls to another woman, ruling that the posttraumatic stress disorder caused to the victim constituted criminal injury.
Presiding Judge Masakatsu Kamisawa sentenced unemployed Rie Ito, 26, to two years in prison, suspended for four years.
The court said Ito, from Uozu, Toyama Prefecture, placed some 12,000 calls — some silent, some featuring death threats — over 31/2 years since November 1996 to another 26-year-old woman who she believed was trying to steal her boyfriend.
The calls were made to the woman’s home and workplace.
“It is obvious that the victim suffered PTSD because of the harassing calls. The injury includes psychological disorders,” Kamisawa said.
The case follows an April 5 ruling by the Nara District Court — the first in Japan — that PTSD caused by harassing phone calls constitutes criminal injury.
Prosecutors had demanded a two-year prison term for Ito, saying the victim is still suffering from trauma.
Kamisawa decided on a suspended sentence, however, as Ito had “deeply reflected on her conduct.”
Ito’s lawyers claimed the prosecutors excessively stretched the interpretation of injury, using the “vague” area that PTSD can cover.
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