Lawyers: Doctor's info leak justified / Defense says psychiatrist wanted to show teenaged suspect did not intend to kill


An interesting news story out of Japan from the Yomiuri Shimbun:

Lawyers for a psychiatrist indicted on charges of leaking confidential information about a teenage murder suspect to a freelance journalist insisted the doctor was innocent in court Monday, stating he was trying to prove the boy had not intended to kill.

During the first hearing of the case at the Nara District Court, the lawyers also maintained the psychiatrist’s actions were intended to help dispel the public’s misconceptions about pervasive developmental disorder.

The defendant, Morimitsu Sakihama, 50, will enter a plea in the second hearing or later, with prosecutors set to give an opening statement at that time.

Sakihama conducted a psychiatric evaluation of the teenager who allegedly set fire to his house in Tawaramotocho, Nara Prefecture, killing three of his family members in June 2006 when he was a first-year high school student.

The teenager was sent to a juvenile reformatory on murder, arson and other charges.

Sakihama allegedly leaked investigation records he received for the evaluation to the freelance journalist, Atsuko Kusanagi.

She then used the information in her book “Boku wa Papa o Korosu Koto ni Kimeta” (I Decided to Kill My Dad), published by Kodansha Ltd. in May 2007.

This is the first trial regarding a confidential information leak under the Penal Code since 1978, when the Supreme Court began recording such cases.

It is also very rare for a journalist’s informant to be tried over criminal responsibility.

Read the full story on Daily Yomiuri

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