Category Archives: Asia

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

Singapore Court of Appeal’s observations on witness body language

This post is slightly late but relates to an interesting development in Singapore. In May 2014, the Singapore Court of Appeal issued interesting observations about witness body language (here). While those observations were made in the context of a civil case, they will be particularly relevant for criminal cases. Citing scientific studies on how nervousness is often misinterpreted as deceitfulness, the court held: “Put simply, therefore, the demeanour of a witness on the witness stand is not invariably a conclusive indicator of deception. “

An insightful media report on this by Andy Ho may be found here.

 

China’s Top Prosecutor Vows to Fight to Prevent Wrongful Convictions…

From the ShanghaiDaily.com:

BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — China’s top prosecutor has pledged efforts to prevent miscarriage of justice following the high-profile acquittal of a man previously convicted of murder.

Procurator-General Cao Jianming called on judicial workers to reflect on problems that persist in the judicial system, despite attention and measures to address them, according to an article in the Thursday edition of the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

Last month, a court in east China’s Fujian Province acquitted Nian Bin, a man imprisoned for murder, citing insufficient evidence.

Nian had been convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 by a court that found him guilty of poisoning four people, causing two deaths.

His acquittal in the case raised public outcry for stricter implementation of rules to protect defendants in the face of doubt or insufficient evidence.

Some judicial workers have misconceptions about law enforcement, which have resulted in the presumption of guilt in their work, Cao said at a recent commencement ceremony of the National Prosecutors College.

In some cases, defendants were not given the benefit of the doubt, and some prosecutors have relied excessively on confessions and testimony rather than factual evidence, he said.

Some procuratorial workers haven’t paid proper attention to protecting defendants’ rights and due process when enforcing the law, according to the top prosecutor.

Cao called on the country’s procuratorial workers to adhere to professional ethics and the rule of law and prudently practice their duties in supervising criminal procedures.

Cao stressed that unlawfully obtained evidence should be ruled out in accordance with law.

He told law enforcers to resist the temptation of money and interference due to personal relationships.

Thursday’s Quick Clicks…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

More on Hakamada Case…

Previous posts on Hakamada case here and here.

From the Japan Times:

Prosecutors concealed evidence that could have cleared Hakamada, lawyers allege

Kyodo, Aug 6, 2014

Prosecutors have apologized for concealing critical evidence that might have cleared Iwao Hakamada, the former professional boxer who spent more than 40 years on death row before being released from prison in March, according to his lawyers.

The head of Hakamada’s legal team, Katsuhiko Nishijima, alleged at a news conference on Tuesday that prosecutors had admitted making incorrect claims, concealing the existence of photographic negatives showing bloodstained clothes said to have been worn by the culprit.

Hakamada, 78, was a live-in employee at a soybean processing company when he was arrested in August 1966 on robbery, murder and arson charges. The Shizuoka District Court sentenced him to death in 1968 for allegedly slaying an executive of the company, his wife and their two children in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Five pieces of bloodstained clothing, including a shirt, were found at the company’s plant more than a year later, and became decisive evidence at his trial. But the Shizuoka District Court decided to reopen the case, judging based on DNA tests of the bloodstains that the clothing was not Hakamada’s and had not been worn by the culprit at the time of the murder.

The photographs were reportedly taken soon after the bloodstained clothes were discovered inside one of tanks used for soybean fermentation, 14 months after the slayings.

The Shizuoka District Court’s decision suggested the evidence could have been fabricated by investigating officers, as the color of the clothes did not look like they had been soaked in miso paste for over a year.

“The negatives may be crucial in judging whether the evidence has been tainted,” one of Hakamada’s attorneys said.

According to the lawyers, as many as 111 negatives have been found and some of them have already been analyzed by the prosecution.

“The evidence was intentionally concealed and we’re not going to leave it like this,” Nishijima said, adding that the information was discovered in a statement that prosecutors issued on July 17.

The statement said police were in possession of the negatives and that prosecutors found them after the Shizuoka District Court reopened the case, which led to Hakamada’s release.

During the first meeting held between Hakamada’s lawyers, prosecutors and the court on Tuesday at the Tokyo High Court to review his conviction and sentence, the prosecution issued an apology for failing to disclose the evidence, saying they will provide further explanation in a written statement.

“We don’t know what else beside the five pieces of clothing we may find in the photographs, but we believe that some of the photographs have probably never been disclosed,” Hakamada’s attorneys said during the press conference.

The next meeting between the prosecutors, Hakamada’s lawyers and the court is scheduled for Oct. 23. His lawyers said they plan to respond to the prosecution’s statements by the end of October.

Presiding Judge Takaaki Oshima has not specified when the court will issue a final decision.