• Kyodo

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Lawyers representing a man charged with the attempted murder of two 7-year-old boys at an elementary school in Kyoto Prefecture argued at his first trial session Monday that he was not of sound mind at the time and therefore innocent.

Lawyers for Nobuyuki Shirai, 45, told the Kyoto District Court that Shirai was either insane or in a state of reduced mental competence when he entered the school in Uji in December and attacked two first-grade students with a kitchen knife.

Shirai’s defense team is requesting that psychiatric tests be carried out, with the focus of the trial expected to be whether Shirai can be held accountable for the crime.

The lawyers added that, even if Shirai is found mentally competent, he should only be held responsible for injuring the kids, because he had no intent to kill.

Although Shirai has undergone more than 20 periods of care at psychiatric hospitals, prosecutors indicted him after conducting a simple test and deciding he could be held responsible for his actions.

Prosecutors alleged in their opening statement that Shirai was motivated by a desire to seek revenge on students who had previously made fun of him when he was on his way to a hospital.

Shirai admitted in court that he had wounded the two boys — but added that he had no intent to kill. He apologized to the victims and their families.

The victims suffered head wounds that took around 10 days to heal.

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