Court appointed lawyers appeal dismissal of charges over 2001 fatal mass crush in Akashi


Court appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors filed an appeal Friday against a ruling earlier this week that dismissed the indictment of a former senior police officer over a 2001 human crush on a pedestrian bridge that resulted in 11 deaths in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture.

On Wednesday, the Kobe District Court dismissed the indictment against Kazuaki Sakaki, 66, who was deputy chief of the Akashi police station at the time of the deadly incident, in which inadequate crowd control led to mass overcrowding of the footbridge after a beach fireworks display. Sakaki had been charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

The court appointed lawyers filed the appeal with the Osaka High Court.

Prosecutors did not initially file charges against Sakaki, but he was indicted in April 2010 after an independent judicial panel of citizens came to a decision twice that he should be charged over the deadly crush.