Govinda Prasad Mainali, the Nepalese man convicted of killing a woman in 1997, was finally acquitted today by the Tokyo High Court. It is reported that the prosecutors will not appeal the decision. Mainali has already gone back to his home country.
Read my previous post on this case here.
From The Mainichi:
High court acquits Nepalese man of murder in retrial
The Tokyo High Court acquitted a Nepalese man, who had been released in June and returned home after serving a prison term for a murder he never committed, in a retrial on Nov. 7.
The court upheld the Tokyo District Court’s initial ruling in April 2000 that found Govinda Prasad Mainali, 46, not guilty.
“There are strong suspicions that someone other than the defendant is the culprit. There are rational doubts about finding him guilty,” Presiding Judge Shoji Ogawa said as he handed down the ruling.
Prosecutors, who also insisted that Mainali be found not guilty in the retrial, will not appeal the Nov. 7 ruling to the Supreme Court.
The acquittal of Mainali is set to be confirmed about 15 1/2 years after the murder occurred in 1997. The decision has prompted Tokyo police to re-investigate the case in a bid to arrest the true culprit. The force assigned about 20 investigators to probe the incident.
This is the eighth case in which a defendant — whose life imprisonment or the death penalty was confirmed — has been found not guilty in a retrial and had their acquittal confirmed since the Supreme Court released the standards for deciding whether to open a retrial for convicts in 1975.
DNA tests that prosecutors conducted during the proceedings to decide whether to open a retrial for Mainali have shown that DNA in semen found inside the victim’s body matched that of a man’s hair other than the defendant, which was found at the scene. Moreover, the other man’s DNA was found in substances stuck to the victim’s body and underwear as well as blood stuck to her coat.
Moreover, shortly before Mainali’s retrial was opened, the man’s DNA was detected in substances stuck to her nail.
After analyzing the DNA test results, Presiding Judge Ogawa pointed to the possibility that a man other than Mainali had sexual relations with the victim at the scene, hit the woman, touched her blood and then her coat, and that he choked her.
The judge then concluded that there is a high possibility that another man is the culprit.
Mainali had been arrested and indicted for murdering a 39-year-old female employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co., whose body was found at a vacant apartment in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on March 19, 1997.
The Tokyo District Court found Mainali not guilty, but the Tokyo High Court sentenced him to life imprisonment for murdering the victim after having sexual relations with her, and stealing about 40,000 yen in cash from her. The ruling was confirmed after the Supreme Court upheld the guilty verdict in November 2003. Mainali demanded a retrial in March 2005 over the case.
Law enforcers and judges who handled the case have expressed regret over the false conviction of Mainali while one former police investigator asserted that there was no problem with the initial investigation into the case.
“We failed to consider the possibility that those we questioned over the incident were lying,” a former senior prosecutor said.
He underscored the need to preserve samples of substances left at crimes scenes for future DNA identification. “Mainali couldn’t have been acquitted in the retrial if the samples used for new DNA tests hadn’t been preserved.”
Fuho Hirata, who supervised the investigation into the case as head of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) first criminal investigation division, hailed the advancement in forensic technology to identify culprits. “It’s great. The advanced technology should be fully utilized for investigations.”
However, he defended the MPD’s arrest of Mainali. “There wasn’t any problem with the investigation at the time since we made the judgment based also on some other evidence.”
November 07, 2012(Mainichi Japan)