National

Judges call for check of defendant's competency

The Saitama District Court has decided to examine whether a man with a history of mental deficiency and autistic disorder indicted for allegedly assaulting a young boy is capable of standing trial, informed sources said Sunday.

A preliminary examination before the indictment found the 35-year-old defendant, whose name has not been released, has a mental deficiency and autistic disorder, indicating it would be difficult for him to stand trial.

But prosecutors have said he is able to take “limited criminal responsibility for his actions.”

The trial at the district court’s Kawagoe branch will be suspended if medical experts conclude the man is unable to stand trial as a capable defendant. This will also call into question the prosecutors’ judgment to indict him.

According to the indictment, the man hit a fourth-grade boy on the head Jan. 28 in a park in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.

He pleaded guilty at the first trial session in April. His lawyers urged the court not to accept his testimony.

Accepting the argument, presiding Judge Norio Amamiya did not allow the prosecutors to give an opening statement and personally questioned the defendant at the second session May 12.

During this session, it became clear that due to his autism the man could not understand the emotions of those around him, the sources said.

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