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布川事件再審 繰り返された自白偏重の捜査

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 17, 2009)
Forced confessions preclude fair trials
布川事件再審 繰り返された自白偏重の捜査(12月17日付・読売社説)

In a typical example of investigators' overreliance on confessions made by suspects in a criminal case, two men were forced to confess to a crime despite a lack of strong material evidence to support their declarations.
 強引に引き出した自白を補強する有力な物証がなく、典型的な自白偏重の立証だったといえる。

In light of the "innocent until proven guilty" principle for criminal trials, it was therefore inevitable that the Supreme Court chose to uphold a lower court decision ordering a retrial of a 1967 murder-robbery in Tonemachi, Ibaraki Prefecture.
 「疑わしきは被告人の利益に」という刑事裁判の原則に照らせば、再審決定は当然の結論である。
 茨城県利根町で1967年に起きた「布川(ふかわ)事件」の再審開始が決まった。

The top court backed a Tokyo High Court decision that raised doubts about the guilty ruling handed to two men convicted of the charges. Forty-two years have elapsed since the incident, which is referred to as the "Fukawa case" after the area in which the crime took place. We hope the truth will quickly come to light during the retrial.
「有罪認定に疑いが生じた」とした東京高裁の決定を、最高裁も支持したためだ。事件から42年が経過している。再審で速やかに真相を究明してほしい。

In the case, a 62-year-old carpenter who lived alone was murdered and robbed of about 100,000 yen. The two men, who lived in the same town, were indicted for murder and robbery after investigative authorities determined they had committed the crime to obtain cash for bicycle races.
 一人暮らしの大工の男性が殺害され、現金10万円余りが奪われた。競輪の金ほしさに犯行に及んだとして、地元の男性2人が強盗殺人罪で起訴された。

However, no material evidence--such as fingerprints--was found. The authorities established their case based on the men's confessions and eyewitness accounts given by residents of the neighborhood. In 1978, sentences of life imprisonment were finalized after the top court rejected appeals lodged by the two men, who had pleaded not guilty. The men served their time in prison and were subsequently released on parole.
 指紋などの物証はなく、立証の支えは2人の自白と近所の住民の目撃証言だった。最高裁は78年、無罪を主張した2人の上告を退け、無期懲役が確定した。2人は既に服役、仮釈放されている。

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Inconsistencies pointed out

During court deliberations on their second request for a retrial, the high court flagged inconsistencies between how the carpenter's body was found and the accounts given by the two men about how the man was murdered. The court also noted significant differences in the various confessions given by the men regarding the amount of money that was stolen and from where it was taken.
 2人が裁判のやり直しを求めた第2次再審請求の審理で、東京高裁は、殺害方法について、遺体の状況と自白内容に矛盾があると指摘した。現金のあった場所や奪った金額についての自白が、著しく変遷している点も重視した。

The high court concluded that the men's confessions were unnatural and changed over time, likely because they did not actually carry out the acts they claimed.
 「実際に(2人が)体験したことではないため、不自然な供述の変遷を重ねた」。これが、高裁の判断だ。

Aggressive interrogations are a common factor in other cases in which false confessions have been obtained, such as the Ashikaga case, in which a man was convicted for murdering a 4-year-old girl in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, but released earlier this year based on DNA test results.
自白を強引に引き出す取り調べは、足利事件など、これまでの冤罪(えんざい)事件と共通している。

In the case of the murdered carpenter, new eyewitness reports have come to light. These reports say the men seen near the murder scene differed from the two convicted men in terms of both physical appearance and clothing. The credibility of two elements that supported the conviction--the men's confessions and eyewitness accounts--were thus considerably undermined.
 新たな証言も明らかになった。事件当時、現場付近で目撃された男たちは、容姿や服装の点でこの2人とは異なっていたとの内容だった。立証の両輪の信用性が、大きく揺らいだわけだ。

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Withheld evidence?

The way prosecutors handled the case was problematic. Many pieces of evidence, such as the new eyewitness accounts--which were pivotal in the decision to hold a retrial--were disclosed for the first time during court deliberations on a petition for a retrial of the case.
 この事件で特に問題なのは、検察の対応である。新たな目撃証言など再審開始の決め手となった証拠の多くは、今回の再審請求で検察が初めて出したものだった。

It now appears almost certain that prosecutors in the original trial deliberately withheld pieces of evidence that could have hindered a guilty conviction.
 2人を有罪にするため、公判で不利になる証拠は開示しなかった検察の姿勢が透けて見える。

Among the new evidence are audio tapes containing recordings of the men's interrogations. The high court acknowledged that the tapes likely had been tampered with. We suspect that parts of the tapes that would have proved inconvenient for the police and prosecutors were erased.
 取り調べを録音したテープも新証拠の一つだった。これについても、高裁は「編集痕が認められる」と認定した。警察や検察にとって都合が悪い部分を消去したということはなかったのだろうか。

Prosecutors control evidence. Therefore, if they intentionally withhold evidence or falsify tapes, a fair trial cannot take place.
 証拠を一手に握っているのは検察側だ。証拠を意図的に出さなかったり、テープを改ざんしたりしては、公正な裁判は望めない。

In lay judge trials, in which the number of pieces of evidence is narrowed down in advance to help expedite court deliberations, it is highly likely that arbitrary disclosure of evidence by prosecutors could result in erroneous judgments. This aspect of the system must not be forgotten.
 迅速な審理のため、証拠数を事前に絞り込む裁判員裁判では、なおのこと、検察の恣意(しい)的な証拠開示は誤判を招きやすい。そのことを忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 17, 2009)
(2009年12月17日01時00分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-12-17 05:54 | 英字新聞

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