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Updated:August 30, 2013

Summary of Criminal Proceeding

The process of finding the criminal, proving his or her guilt or innocence and finally deciding on punishment is called the Criminal Proceeding. This procedure is divided into three steps which are Criminal Investigation, Indictment and Trial. These procedures differ between adult and juvenile suspects

When the criminal activity has been conducted by an adult

Criminal Investigation

Capturing criminals, collecting evidence, and other related activities in order to solve the case constitute the Criminal Investigation.

The person suspected to be a criminal by the police on the basis of evidence is called the Suspect. After the police arrest a suspect, they must send him or her to the prosecutor within 48 hours with documents detailing the investigation. (This situation is called a” referral”.)

When a prosecutor receives a referral and decides it is necessary to detain the suspect, he or she will ask the judge to issue a detainment order within 24 hours (This situation of physical restraint is called “Detention”. If a detainment order is issued the suspect may be detained for a maximum of 20 days. The police will continue various investigative activities throughout the suspect’s detainment.

If the suspect is not likely to flee, the police may investigate without arresting him or her. After the police have collected evidence, they will send the results to the prosecutor.

Indictment

After referral, the prosecutor in charge of the case will scrutinize the documents and evidence received from the police, conduct necessary investigation such as interviewing suspects and key witnesses by him/herself, and decide whether to indict the suspect or not. Choosing not to bring him or her to trial is called “Non-indictment”. (The person who has been indicted is called a “Defendant”).

Trial

After the suspect is indicted, a trial date is decided, a trial is held, and a judgment is handed down.

When the suspect is a juvenile aged over 14 but under 20

Criminal Investigation, etc.

If the suspect is a juvenile aged over 14 years, the police will carry out an investigation in the same way as a normal criminal proceeding.

When a comparatively felonious crime resulting in statutory penalties in the form of servitude or imprisonment has been committed, the case will be referred to the Public Prosecutors Office. The Public Prosecutors Office, when it deems necessary, initiates its own criminal investigation and refers the case to the Family Courts along with a recommendation for the treatment of the juvenile suspect.

For less serious crimes punishable by monetary fines or lighter penalties, the police will directly refer the case to the Family Courts.

When the suspect is a juvenile under 14 years

Criminal Investigation, etc.

It is ruled that anyone under 14 years of age shall not be subject to penal punishment. Therefore investigations will be conducted by the police. During the investigation procedure for anyone under 14 years of age, the juvenile cannot be placed under detention such as arrests; however compulsory disposition such as seizure or a search may be conducted. After due investigations or inquires have been carried out the police can notify the Child Guidance Centre about the case. When the police consider it appropriate to submit the juvenile to the Family Court’s inquiry, they will refer the case to the Child Guidance Centre.

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