National / Crime & Legal

Defendant's strange actions in court lead to judge delaying issuing kidnap case ruling

JIJI

The presiding judge in the trial of a man accused of the 2014 high-profile kidnapping of a girl who managed to escape her captor last year postponed handing down a ruling Tuesday after the 25-year-old suspect threw the hearing into confusion with his erratic behavior.

According to the indictment, Kabu Terauchi is alleged to have tricked the girl, now 16, into getting in his car in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, on March 10, 2014, having lied to her that her parents were set to divorce. He then took her to his apartment in Inage Ward in the city of Chiba before later moving to Tokyo’s Nakano Ward.

On March 27 last year, she managed to escape from the Nakano Ward apartment and made an emergency call to police from a public phone at JR Higashinakano Station.

Satomi Matsubara, the judge overseeing the case for the Saitama District Court, made the decision to adjourn the sentencing after Terauchi began making strange noises and speaking unintelligibly. At the opening of Tuesday’s hearing, the defendant shrieked when he entered the courtroom. When the judge asked him about his profession, he said he was a “fairy from the forest.”

The judge ordered the session adjourned after Terauchi made more nonsensical remarks such as he did not understand Japanese. The hearing reopened later, but Terauchi continued to act in the same manner. When asked to identify himself, he claimed to be an amoeba.

The new date to deliver the verdict will be fixed later. Public prosecutors are demanding a 15-year prison term.

The focus of Terauchi’s trial was on whether he was mentally competent to take criminal responsibility for his actions. A psychiatric evaluation conducted by the court found he has mild autism spectrum disorder, a kind of developmental disability.

Prosecutors claim the defendant should be held criminally liable because the kidnapping and confinement were deliberately planned and executed. Terauchi’s defense argued he should not be held responsible for his actions as he suffers from schizophrenia.

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