Justice delayed is justice denied.
But for a 50-year-old man in the small Japanese town of Tosu, in Saga prefecture, such a proverb commonly heard of in criminal courts and justice systems does not define his twist of fate.
On April 24, the man was hit by a speeding car, but reportedly refused to receive immediate medical care, straightforwardly dismissing the paramedics’ decision to take him to the hospital for examination. Police officers who came to the scene reported only minor bruises and no serious visible injuries to the victim.
More than a month later, on June 5, the man died. His decaying body was found after authorities received reports of a foul smell coming from his apartment.
That was when the case turned itself against the driver, whose criminal charge went from minor property damage to involuntary manslaughter due to autopsy reports showing damage to the brain that most likely resulted from a serious blow to the head during the previous month’s accident.
Medical reports also suggested that the injuries sustained were so severe that he could have died within 24 hours after the fatal blow.
The driver, however, was reportedly proactive and helpful after the accident, even escorting the senior while urging him to seek medical help.
The bizarre nature of the case has ignited sentiments on the Internet, with most netizens expressing their sympathy for the driver.
What made the case difficult was that the focus on negligence — the focal point of the accident — has shifted from the driver toward the victim, stemming from the victim’s refusal to receive immediate medical treatment after being hit by the car.
Japanese bloggers questioned whether the charge filed against the driver was “morally justifiable,” even highlighting the police’s wrong judgment by declaring the man as “well” just because the bruises weren’t deep enough to cause alarm.
Now it’s up to the authorities again to cast judgment, this time on the driver. And hopes are high that in the Japanese court, compassion will reign supreme over the otherwise cold logic of law.