東電OL殺害 検察を敗北に導いた新証拠

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jun. 9, 2012)
Prosecutors defeated by new evidence in Mainali case
東電OL殺害 検察を敗北に導いた新証拠(6月8日付・読売社説)

"There is suspicion another person might have murdered the woman."

As long as a court makes a judgment like this, it is only natural for a case to be retried. It was a complete defeat for prosecutors.

The Tokyo High Court on Thursday decided to grant a retrial and stay of execution for Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepalese national, at a hearing over his request for a retrial for the murder of a female employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The high court's decision said, "Reasonable doubt has emerged" regarding the finalized conviction that sentenced Mainali to life in prison. The judgment is in line with a cardinal rule of criminal trials--give the accused the benefit of the doubt (when in doubt, for the accused).

In 1997, a female employee of TEPCO was murdered in an apartment in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and robbed of about 40,000 yen in cash. Mainali has denied committing the crime throughout his trials.
The Tokyo District Court handed down a not-guilty ruling but the Tokyo High Court overturned the decision and ruled Mainali was guilty. The guilty ruling was finalized by the Supreme Court in 2003.


New DNA analysis key

A point of issue in the high court hearing over the request for a retrial was the results of a fresh DNA analysis. The new analysis showed the DNA type of semen collected from inside the woman's body did not match that of Mainali but did match that in the body hair of another person left at the crime scene.

This evidence suggests there may have been another person at the crime scene. The high court's decision said it was likely Mainali would not have been convicted if the results of this analysis had been presented.

It is said that a DNA analysis could have been conducted with the technology available at the time of the crime. It cannot be helped that police and prosecutors have come under fire for not thoroughly investigating the case.

Prosecutors have lodged an objection to the high court's decision, so the high court will again hear the case to consider whether to grant a retrial for Mainali.

On the other hand, the high court rejected the prosecutors' request to keep Mainali behind bars. Mainali, who was illegally staying in the country, was released Thursday and is expected to be deported to Nepal.

The high court's judgment on the latter point was unusual but considerate.


Future hearing may lack defendant

The high court may have decided that prolonging Mainali's imprisonment any longer must be avoided, a nod to the fact that there are serious doubts about the guilty ruling. It is highly likely the high court's future hearing of the case will be conducted without Mainali.

Fifteen years have already passed since Mainali's arrest. It is necessary to accelerate the high court hearing.

Prosecutors should quickly accept a retrial if they are unable to present evidence that could reverse the high court's decision to approve a retrial for Mainali.

There is much criticism against the current system, which is complicated and takes time before a retrial begins. Some people say a retrial should be started first and evidence then examined in detail at the court to uncover the truth.

It is probably time to review the system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 8, 2012)
(2012年6月8日01時44分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-06-12 15:01 | 英字新聞

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