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New law permits victimsí testimony in criminal trials

Date Posted: 2008-12-18

The survivor of a double fatality car crash early this year on an Okinawa Expressway Interchange will get his day in court.

A new law effective December 1st permits victims to testify in criminal court proceedings, and to question the defendant directly. The survivor from the February 18th crash on the Kitanakagusuku Interchange that killed two family members is the first to petition the court to appear. His car was traveling toward Naha from the Kin area when it was struck by another driver, flew off the road and tumbled under the toll road bridge, instantly killing two young people.

The other driver, who police say was sleepy and didnítí see the victimsí car coming onto the roadway, has been charged by the Naha District Prosecutorís Office. Following a December 5th request by the survivorís family to attend the trial, permission was granted for the family to both question the accused and to ask the court for a reasonable sentence to be administered.

The new law provides for a privacy screen to be placed between the victims and the defendant.

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