• Kyodo


The Osaka District Court has sentenced a 22-year-old man to 19 years in prison for beating a Nepalese resident to death in an unprovoked attack on a street in the city of Osaka in January last year.

Hiroki Shiraishi, a tattoo artist, suddenly attacked Bishnu Prasad Dhamala, a 42-year-old restaurateur, in the early hours of Jan. 16 last year in Abeno Ward, the court said Monday in handing down a lay judge trial sentence one year longer than what prosecutors had sought.

Along with another man who is on trial separately, he hurled a bicycle at the Nepalese man and engaged in other violence that led to the victim’s death, the court said.

Miyoko Shiraishi, a 23-year-old unemployed woman and a friend of Hiroki Shiraishi, also inflicted violence on Dhamala. She was given nine years in prison by the same panel of lay and professional judges. The prosecution had sought 15 years for her.

Defense lawyers said the two did not intend to kill Dhamala.

Hidenori Nagai, the presiding judge, said: “(the accused) assaulted for fun and without reason a man who did not resist. It should never be condoned.”

The panel decided Hiroki Shiraishi intended to kill Dhamala. “He threw a bicycle from close range and hit him near the head and should have known the risk of killing him,” Nagai said.

However, Miyoko Shiraishi was heavily drunk at the time and may not have been clearly aware she had actually engaged in violence, the court said.

After the ruling, one of the lay judges, a Japanese language teacher, told reporters: “It is harder for foreigners to have jobs and live in Japan than Japanese people think. Anyone who ruins their efforts instantaneously deserves heavy punishment.”

Dhamala’s 37-year-old Japanese wife, holding back tears, told the court on March 5, “I don’t know why my husband had to die.”

During the course of the trial, security camera footage showed Dhamala being hit in the head, then collapsing and being kicked continuously even though he did not attempt to fight back.

His wife did not comment after the ruling was handed down as the other defendant is still on trial.

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