Prosecutors' reputation totally ruined

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 23, 2010)
Prosecutors' reputation totally ruined
押収資料改ざん 地に落ちた特捜検察の威信(9月22日付・読売社説)

The alleged falsification of data by a senior prosecutor is a grave scandal that is shaking the very foundations of Japan's criminal justice system.
 刑事司法の根幹を揺るがす特捜検察の一大不祥事である。

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office arrested the lead prosecutor at the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation squad on suspicion of tampering with evidence in the postal abuse case involving Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry officials. The ministry's former bureau chief, Atsuko Muraki, was arrested and indicted for her alleged involvement in the case but was cleared by the Osaka District Court.
 厚生労働省の村木厚子元局長に無罪判決が出た郵便不正事件に絡み、大阪地検特捜部の主任検事が、押収資料を改ざんした証拠隠滅容疑で最高検に逮捕された。

The chief prosecutor is suspected to have altered data on a floppy disk seized as possible evidence from one of Muraki's former subordinates, who was then a unit chief at the ministry's policy planning division, to make it better match the special investigation team's arguments.
 村木元局長の部下だった元係長宅から押収したフロッピーディスクのデータを、特捜部の描いた事件の構図に合うよう書き換えた疑いが持たれている。

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Unprecedented scandal

If the allegation is true, it would be an unprecedented instance of a prosecutor, who holds supreme authority in investigations and indictments, being found to have illegally fabricated evidence against a defendant. The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office must bring to light the case's entire picture and strictly punish those involved.
 事実とすれば、強大な捜査・起訴権限を持つ検事自らが、有罪証拠をでっちあげようとした前代未聞の違法行為だ。最高検は全容を解明し、関係者を厳正に処罰しなければならない。

The special investigation squad's probe was based on the scenario that Muraki had instructed the unit chief in early June 2004 to fabricate an official document to allow a group that falsely claimed itself as a body supporting the handicapped to abuse the postal discount system for the handicapped.
 特捜部が描いた事件の構図は、村木元局長が2004年6月上旬、元係長に対し、自称障害者団体に発行する偽証明書の作成を指示したというものだった。

However, the supposedly false document, which was found on the seized floppy disk, was last updated at 1:20 a.m. on June 1, 2004.
 ところが、押収したディスクには、偽証明書作成の最終更新日時が「04年6月1日午前1時20分」と記録されていた。

The chief prosecutor allegedly changed the data to show that the document was last updated at 9:10 p.m. on June 8, 2004. The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office suspects that the prosecutor altered the data because it did not fit the special investigation squad's suppositions.
 主任検事は、これを「04年6月8日午後9時10分」に書き換えた。特捜部の見立てに合わないデータを意図的に改ざんした疑いがあると最高検は見ている。

A lead prosecutor, who takes charge of investigations in a criminal case, is supposed to change the course of the investigation or give up on establishing a case altogether if investigators have found evidence contrary to their case.
 担当事件の捜査を統括する主任検事は、捜査の過程で見立てと異なる証拠が見つかれば、軌道修正したり、事件の立件を断念したりするのが鉄則だ。

Altering a seized document is an inexcusable act that ruins confidence in prosecutors' investigations and makes a mockery of the justice of criminal trials.
 押収資料の改ざんは、検察捜査への信頼を損ね、刑事裁判の公正さをないがしろにする言語道断の行為である。

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Terrifying abuse of power

The chief prosecutor eventually returned the floppy disk in question to the former unit chief without submitting it to the court as evidence. If it had been submitted to the court, it might have been used as material evidence to establish Muraki's guilt. We are terrified at the thought of such supreme authority spinning out of control.
 主任検事は結局、ディスクを元係長側に返却し、公判に証拠提出しなかった。提出されていたら、村木元局長を強引に有罪に持ち込む物証となった可能性もあった。権力の暴走に戦慄(せんりつ)を覚える。

In addition, the prosecutors had drawn up an investigation report with the correct update time on the floppy disk but did not submit it to the court. They disclosed the report upon the request of Muraki's attorneys before her trial started.
 さらに特捜部は、正確な最終更新日時のデータを記載した捜査報告書を作成していたが、これも証拠提出しなかった。公判前に弁護側の請求でようやく開示した。

Prosecutors must uncover what had been discussed within the special investigation squad and the district public prosecutors office over the handling of evidence and whether any other individuals were involved in altering the data. The Osaka High Public Prosecutors Office and the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office must also be blamed for having failed to fulfill their responsibility to appropriately supervise the district public prosecutors office.
 これら証拠資料の扱いについて特捜部や地検内でどんな議論があったのか、他に改ざんの関与者はいなかったのか、真相を明らかにすべきだ。上級庁の大阪高検、最高検の監督責任も免れまい。

In the postal abuse case, the court refused to accept many depositions by Muraki's alleged accomplices and witnesses submitted by the prosecutors, saying that the prosecutors could have coerced them into making such statements. Given that, we must say that the quality of public prosecutors has seriously deteriorated.
 郵便不正事件では、特捜部の作成した供述調書の多くが「誘導の可能性がある」として、裁判で信用性を否定された。特捜検事の資質の劣化は極めて深刻だ。

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office has the responsibility to drive out corruption within the organization by thoroughly investigating the case without being lenient on its colleagues.
 最高検には、身内への甘さを排した徹底捜査で、組織内部の病巣を取り除く責務がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 22, 2010)
(2010年9月22日01時26分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2010-09-23 04:17 | 英字新聞

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