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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 3 - 9  > Falsely-charged victims hold rally calling for improvement in law pertaining to retrial request procedure
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2019 April 3 - 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Falsely-charged victims hold rally calling for improvement in law pertaining to retrial request procedure

April 3, 2019

Those who are seeking to clear themselves of false charges and their lawyers and supporters on April 2 held a rally in the Diet building to call for a revision of criminal procedure rules on filing a motion for a new trial in a bid to prevent a recurrence of a false charge and help falsely-charged victims.

They said that through the revision, it is necessary to prohibit prosecutors from unjustly hampering the approval of retrials and to oblige prosecutors to disclose all evidence they have in relation with the original trial when requested by defense lawyers.

In the rally, co-head of the defense counsel in the Matsubase case Saito Makoto reported on the case, in which a man was declared guilty of murdering his acquaintance in Kumamoto’s Matsubase Town in 1985. Just last month, the man, now 85, was found not guilty at a retrial in the Kumamoto District Court. Saito said that the defense counsel succeeded in having the prosecutors disclose all pieces of evidence and that this was instrumental in achieving the not-guilty judgement. He stressed that the improvement of the retrial procedure rules is essential to support those suffering under false charges.

Lawyer Kamoshida Yumi, who is a member of the defense counsel for the Osaki case, criticized the prosecutors for repeatedly blocking motions for retrial. In 1979 in Kagoshima’s Osaki Town, a farmer was found dead in his house and his sister-in-law was in 1981 found guilty of murder. Kamoshida pointed out that in this case, the courts ordered a new trial three times, but each time the prosecutors lodged an appeal against the court order and prevented the sister-in-law, now in her 90s, from obtaining what she has long sought. Kamoshida said, “For four decades, she has maintained her innocence, but she has yet to be given a chance for a retrial. This is because of obstructions put in place by the prosecutors. This situation should be corrected through revising the law on retrial procedures.”

Aoki Keiko, who heads a group of falsely-charged victims which was founded last month, explained about her case. The court sentenced Aoki to life imprisonment by recognizing that in 1995 she killed her daughter in Osaka’s Higashisumiyoshi Ward for the purpose of collecting the insurance. Noting that it was in 2015 that the court ordered a retrial, Aoki stressed that the prosecutors hid key pieces of evidence for more than two decades to prevent a retrial from being granted, and added that she was angered by this act.

Sakurai Masashi, another false charge victim, said, “We victims are resolved to make reasonable changes to the law on new trial procedures.” He was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection to the 1967 robbery and murder case. His request for a new trial was accepted in 2009.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Fujino Yasufumi gave a speech in solidarity and expressed his determination to improve the rules through supra-partisan efforts.

Past related articles:
> Victims of false accusations expose danger behind selected use of security footage [November 8, 2017]
> Police interrogations should be fully videotaped: JCP Shimizu [December 5, 2015]
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