Tag Archives: Govinda Mainali

Japan to Pay 68 Million for 15 Years of Wrongful Incarceration

Previous posts on Govinda Mainali’s case here.
From the Japan Times:

¥68 million redress eyed for Mainali
May 25, 2013

The Tokyo District Court has endorsed paying about ¥68 million in compensation to a Nepali man who was wrongly detained and imprisoned in Japan for 15 years, according to sources.

Govinda Prasad Mainali, 46, was charged with murdering a Japanese woman in 1997 and was handed a life term that was finalized in 2003 before being cleared in a retrial last November.

Mainali was kept in prison until the decision on his retrial was reached last June after the prosecutors were shown to have withheld crucial DNA evidence that could have cleared him. He was acquitted in his initial trial.

Mainali Finally Declared Innocent by Tokyo High Court!

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

A supporter for Govinda Prasad Mainali shows off a banner saying, "Acquitted in a retrial," in front of the Tokyo High Court in Chiyoda Ward on Nov. 7. (Mainichi)

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. Continue reading

Prosecutors Argue for Mainali’s Innocence

My previous post on Govinda Mainali’s Case here. This is a 1997 case where a Nepalese man was convicted of killing a woman in Tokyo.

 
Prosecutors entering Tokyo High Court for the Mainali Retrial Hearing (From Sankei Shimbun News).

The retrial was held on October 29th at the Tokyo High Court.  The prosecutors argued for Mainali’s innocence, saying that Mainali was accused of a crime he did not commit. The court will hand down the ruling next week, on November 7th. The prosecution will not appeal the not-guilty ruling, and the decision will be finalized soon.

Mainali’s case will be the 8th case in Japan after WWII where the defendant was declared innocent after the retrial in a death penalty/ life imprisonment case.

Takayuki Aoki (Tokyo High Prosecutor’s Office) made a comment after the retrial. He said that the investigation and the first trial itself were not problematic. He did state that he is sorry that Mr. Mainali was wrongfully accused and detained for a long time as the perpetrator. However, there was no apology given from the prosecution at the retrial hearing. They still take the position that the their accusation was inevitable, and the circumstances have changed since the new DNA testing results became available.

Typical problems surrounding the Japanese criminal justice system were present during the course of the trial and the retrial of the Mainali case: lengthy detention during investigation, interrogations coerced by the police and prosecutors, prosecutors appealing the decision to grant retrial, and non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence by the prosecution. It is reported that the police and prosecutors will not hold a thorough investigation of what went wrong in this particular case. If we sincerely regret what happened and are determined to never let it happen again, shouldn’t we thoroughly examine the cause of wrongful conviction in each and every case?

Stories on Mainali’s retrial here and here (in English).

Breaking News: Another Exonerating DNA Testing Result Revealed in Mainali Case

From Asahi Shimbun Digital News.Mr. Govinda Prasad Mainali (middle).

Previous posts on the Mainali Case here, here and here.

This is a 1997 robbery-murder case where Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepali national, was convicted and sentenced to life in Tokyo, Japan. Mainali was granted a retrial in June this year. The prosecution did not appeal the decision of the Tokyo High Court which rejected the prosecution’s objection against the decision to grant a retrial. Mainali has already gone back to his home country, Nepal.

It was revealed yesterday that an additional testing by the prosecution brought another exonerating result. A third person’s DNA profile has already been found on and inside the victim’s body during previous testings (hairs left near the victim’s body and semen). This time, the same person’s DNA was found on victim’s fingernail clippings. Scrapings from victim’s right thumb fingernail and left middle fingernail were concluded to have matched that person, and scrapings from other fingernails also might have come from him. The redundant DNA results from many different items found at the crime scene suggest that the DNA came from the actual perpetrator.

It is reported that the prosecutions will argue that Mainali is innocent of the crime during the retrial. The retrial will start on October 29th.

Read the news in Japanese here.

 

Breaking News: Mainali Case will Go to Retrial

Tokyo High Prosecutor’s Office stated on August 2nd (JST) that it will not appeal the Tokyo High Court’s decision affirming the ruling to grant a retrial for Govinda Prasad Mainali.  The Prosecutor’s Office commented that it could not find a compelling reason to file a Special Appeal to the Supreme Court (since the grounds for Special Appeal are limited). However, they will not change their argument that Mainali is guilty of the 1997 murder in the retrial process.

Division 4 of Tokyo High Court granted Mainali a retrial in June this year, but the Prosecutor’s Office immediately filed an objection. Objection was denied by Division 5 of High Court on July 31st. Read more in my previous post here.

Division 4 of the Tokyo High Court, which also granted a retrial for Mainali, will handle the retrial process. In all the cases where a retrial took place in the past, “not guilty” decisions followed.

Read a detailed report in English from the Daily Yomiuri Online Staff writers Katsuro Oda and Chihiro Iwasaki here.

Excerpt:

The Tokyo High Court’s rejection of objections by prosecutors regarding the granting of a retrial to a Nepalese man convicted of murder has made it nearly certain a retrial will be held and that the defendant, who was released from custody in June, will be found not guilty. Continue reading

Breaking News: Tokyo High Court Denies Prosecution’s Objection in Mainali Case

Mr. Govinda Prasad Mainali.

Division 5 of the Tokyo High Court denied the objection filed by Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office in Mainali Case, a 1997 murder case, on July 31st (JST). Previous posts about the Mainali Case here, here and here.

Division 4 of the Tokyo High Court granted the petition for retrial for Govinda Mainali, as well as his release from custody last month. The Prosecutor’s Office immediately filed an objection, but the objection was denied today by Division 5 of the same court. The Prosecutor’s Office has until August 6th to file a Special Appeal to the Supreme Court. If the Prosecutor’s Office does not appeal or loses appeal at the Supreme Court, Division 4 of the Tokyo High Court will hold a retrial for Mainali. It has been reported that it is unlikely that the Prosecutor’s Office will appeal.

Mainali was convicted for a murder in 2000.  In March 2005, Mainali filed for a retrial to the Tokyo High Court. Later, a new DNA testing was conducted. The new test focused on the semen found on and inside the body of the victim. Fifteen samples from the crime scene were tested, but none of the DNA type matched Mainali’s. The unknown profile from the semen did match that of the two pubic hairs found in the crime scene.

The decision which granted Mainali a retrial in June stated that it was likely that the third person whose DNA was on the victim had a sexual intercourse with the victim and later killed her. In the Objection, the prosecution stated that this new evidence only suggests that the victim had sexual intercourse with this unknown third person on the evening of the incident, but the court today denied this claim as unreasonable. The prosecutors also sought a new DNA testing of a substance on victim’s hand, but the court denied the request.

Media report about today’s decision in Japanese can be found here and here.

Yet Another Police Misconduct Revealed in Mainali’s Case

Mr. Mainali, on his way back home.

Previous posts on Govinda Mainali’s exoneration in Japan here, here, and here.

While Mainali went back to his home contry (Nepal) after the Tokyo High Court granted his new trial, yet another misconduct by the police in his case was revealed.

From the Japan Times.

Roommate says police forced him to sign false statement indicating Mainali’s guilt

DHULABARI, Nepal — A Nepalese man who shared a Tokyo flat with compatriot Govinda Prasad Mainali, 45, said Monday he was coerced while in detention in Japan to sign a false statement indicating his roommate had murdered a Tokyo woman in 1997 in order to rob her…….

Khadka said he and Mainali were among five Nepalese migrant workers who lived in a building in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward adjacent to the vacant apartment where the woman was murdered. Police found her body 11 days after her death.

“Japanese police wanted to establish that Mainali was desperately in need of money at the time of the murder. They made me sign a statement that said Mainali returned to me a few days after the murder a sum of ¥100,000 that he had borrowed from me in February that year,” Khadka told Kyodo News at his residence in Dhulabari, about 300 km southeast of Kathmandu. Continue reading

Role of Prosecutors in Postconviction Proceedings

Lady Justice, in the Supreme Court of Japan

As I posted on Thursday, there was a decision by the Tokyo High Court to grant a retrial to Govinda Mainali. The High Court also ordered his release. He was finally released after 15 years of confinement. Since he has a conviction for visa violations, he is placed in immigration custody, and will be sent back home to Nepal, to his family.

However, the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately filed an objection to the High Court. Even if the Court denies the objection, they can still file an appeal to the Supreme Court. Deputy chief prosecutor of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office was quoted as saying that the Court’s decision to grant Mainali a retrial was “absolutely unacceptable”.

Meanwhile, Asahi Shimbun news reported on June 3rd that the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office will be holding the first meeting ever with the public prosecutors who deal with postconviction claims of innocence. They are apparently alarmed about the relatively high number of recent court decisions to retry cases. Of the eleven decisions (in death penalty or life sentence cases) to grant a retrial since the end of WWII, five  were handed down after 2009 (decisions in Ashikaga, Fukawa, Fukui, Higashi Sumiyoshi, and Mainali cases. Note that four of these involve false confessions).

The court decisions in these cases were made possible in part by the state-of-the-art DNA testing. As the exonerations all over the world have made it clear, DNA is a strong tool to prove innocence of the wrongfully convicted.

However an exoneration means the police and prosecutors who investigated, prosecuted, and helped to convict an innocent person will be criticized by the public. Thus, it was reported that the prosecutors are worried that these decisions to retry cases “will undermine the public’s trust to the investigation process, and therefore worrisome from the standpoint of public safety”. An executive prosecutor said that they “will do their best to battle these retrial claims by developping prosecution’s scientific knowledge.”

If the prosecutors truly believe what they said in these media reports, it is an evidence that the public prosecutors are worried more about “winning” postconviction cases than finding out the truth. Continue reading

Breaking News: Tokyo High Court Grants Retrial for Mainali

“Retrial Granted!!” — from Mainichi Shimbun News.

The Tokyo High Court granted the petition for retrial for a 1997 murder case today (Friday June 7, 2012, JST). It also granted petitioner Govinda Mainali‘s release from custody.

Of the cases where a death sentence or a life sentence were imposed in Japan since the end of World War II, it is said to be the eleventh case that a court granted a retrial.

The Court ruled that if the new DNA evidence was presented at the original proceeding, Mainali would not have found guilty of the crime. News can be found here and here (in Japanese).

However, the prosecutors may file an objection within three days (and they likely will). Even if the Court rejects the objection, the prosecutors can still file a special appeal to the Supreme Court…

Here is what happened in this case:

The victim was found strangled to death in a vacant apartment in Shibuya, Tokyo on March 19th 1997.  She was also robbed 40,000 yen, and it was said that she was murdered on the night of March 8th, 1997. The case became well known since the victim was said to have lead a double life: a graduate of one of the top colleges in Japan, she worked on weekdays at a then very prestigious company, but worked as a prostitute on weekends.

There was a used condom in the toilet of the empty apartment that the victim’s body was found. DNA testing of the semen in the condom revealed that the sperm came from Govinda Mainali, a Nepali national Continue reading