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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 8 - 14  > Victims of false accusations expose danger behind selected use of security footage
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2017 November 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Victims of false accusations expose danger behind selected use of security footage

November 8, 2017

Falsely accused persons in a meeting held by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations on November 7 in Tokyo related to each other their unfair experiences of being arrested based on security footage crafted to the advantage of the police, exposing the danger of investigations depending heavily on video monitoring.

"There turned out to be much footage proving my innocence in the end. The officers had copied and pasted images so that they were able to set me up for the arrest," said 71-year-old Enseki Hiroshi. In 2012, he was arrested for stealing cash of 66,600 yen from an envelope left at an ATM corner. In March of this year, he was finally found not guilty in the appeal court after two lower court trials. He said, "Again and again, I asked the detectives to show me the footage, if any, proving my guilt. But, they never showed me that. They just said, 'There is evidence,' and coerced me into signing a confession." The investigative officer insisted that the suspect had put the cash he stole into a left-chest pocket of his shirt. However, it was later proved that the shirt he had worn that day had no pocket.

Doi Yusuke, 26, was placed under arrest in 2012 for a convenience-store robbery. A suspect touching the door's glass was caught on a security camera. As Doi's fingerprints were left on the glass, both the police and the prosecutors asserted, "These were from the time of the crime," and regarded him as the suspect. However, there came a footage of Doi touching the door glass five days earlier than the crime date. He also had an alibi on the same day of the crime. At the first trial, he was found innocent.

The lawyer who handled this case said, "We persistently demanded disclosure of evidential footage. If the prosecutors had kept refusing the submission of evidence, Doi would have still been falsely accused even now."

Seijo University Professor Ibusuki Makoto said, "In Japan, security cameras are totally unregulated," expressing his concern about the possible tampering of video footage by law enforcement authorities.
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