A woman lay judge fainted after viewing graphic crime scene photos during a trial in Sapporo on Tuesday.
The woman is one of six lay judges in the trial of 29-year-old Yasuto Nagatani, who is charged with forcing his way into a pachinko parlor on the evening of Feb 5, then stabbing two employees and stealing 3.65 million yen from a safe.
According to a report in Sports Nippon, graphic photographs of the bloody scene of the crime were displayed on a monitor, following which one of the women jury members fainted and required medical attention. Reports also say that during the trial, jurors were asked to use earphones to listen to recordings of emergency calls made by the victims in stress.
The lay judge system is still a relatively recent development in Japanese legal history. Under the system, six randomly-selected citizens hear cases such as murder together with three professional judges. At the end of the trial, the majority decides the verdict. Unlike jury trials in countries such as the United States and Britain, where judges only determine the sentence, in Japan the sentencing is also done as a group.
Nagatani is due to take the stand today.