Japan court acquits one, sentences three for fatal elevator mishap

Tokyo, Sep 29 (IANS) A Japanese court on Tuesday found a Schindler Elevator official not guilty for a fatal accident that took place in 2006 which resulted in the death of a 16-year-old boy.

The boy was crushed to death by a Schindler elevator in a condominium in Tokyo. It suddenly ascended as he tried to get off with his bicycle, NHK news agency reported.

Schindler Elevator’s chief Ryuichi Harada, maintenance firm Chairman Takao Suzuki and two other officials faced professional negligence charges.

Presiding Judge Shinji Sugiyama of the Tokyo District Court, found them guilty saying they overlooked the abnormality and “neglected their duty to establish an appropriate system for checks and maintenance.”

Suzuki and President Hiroshi Nishimura, 56, were both given 18-month sentences, suspended for three years, while Kunio Nemoto, 69, former head of maintenance work at the company, was handed a 14-month term, also suspended for three years, The Japan Times reported.

Schindler had been in charge of maintenance and management of the elevator at the housing complex until April 2006. After taking over the responsibility, the company checked the elevator in question just nine days before the accident but did not notice the linings of the brake arms were wearing out, the ruling said.

The court also said the company did not review its maintenance system, despite being told from outside sources that it had problems.

The defendants argued there was no abnormality when they checked the elevator and said they could not have foreseen the accident.

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