Two preliminary court proceedings were held in Tokyo this week. On Thursday, the family of Nicola Furlong, including her parents and her sister, attended court to give victim impact statements. Nicola’s father gave the statement to the court outlining the tragic impact Nicola’s death has had on their lives. When Andrew Furlong gave his address to the court the defendant, Richard Hinds, was seated well in front of him with his back to the courtroom and family. The family did not come face to face with the defendant.
On Friday, the court made the decision to try Hinds as an adult, despite being considered a minor, at age 19, under Japanese law. If found guilty, the maximum penalty under the adult court system will be life in prison, as opposed to five years for a minor. In addition to the much greater penalties, the court proceedings in adult court will be much more open giving access to the public and media. The video above shows the parents positive response to the ruling as well as pictures of the hotel where the death occured and the courtroom. I’ll keep you updated as I find out new information on the case.