Kagoshima District Court granted a retrial for Ayako Haraguchi, who always maintained her innocence. She was convicted for a 1979 murder case, and served 10 years in prison. She filed her first request for a retrial in 1995. This was her 3rd plea for a retrial.
Previous post on the Osaki Case here.
From the Japan Times: Continue reading
From the Japan Times (Kyodo) :
Japan court grants retrial to convicted Russian following ‘unfair’ undercover probe
SAPPORO – The Sapporo District Court decided Thursday to grant a retrial to a Russian man who was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing a handgun in 1997, acknowledging he was convicted because of an “illegal undercover investigation” by local police.
Presiding Judge Koji Saeki granted the retrial to the former sailor, saying, “A collaborator in police investigations initiated a deal to exchange a handgun with a valuable secondhand car,” thereby prompting the Russian man to bring in the gun.
“It was an illegal investigation that induced” the crime, Saeki said. “The state that should be preventing crimes have created a crime involving a handgun, thereby threatening the life and safety of its citizens.”
The Russian man, 46, was arrested for violation of the firearms control law and sentenced by the same court in August 1998. His sentence was finalized after no appeal was made, and he served out the prison term. He now lives in Russia. Continue reading
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).