Saturday, March 27, 2010

Man Declared Innocent After 17 Years in Jail

I saw this in the news today, and it was so heartwarming I though I'd share it with everyone here.

Mr Toshikazu Sugaya, aged 63, who had been serving 17 years into a life sentence, was yesterday declared innocent and immediately released from a jail in Chiba, east of Tokyo. He was found innocent afrer new DNA test findings could not link him with the victim of the crime he was arrested for.

In 1991, Toshikazu, then a kindergarten bus driver, was arrested for kidnapping and murdering four-year-old Mami Matsuda from a pachinko parlour in Tochigi, east of Tokyo. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1993, and the top court rejected his appeal in 2000. Then, he was arrested based on DNA tests, but his lawyers repeatedly demanded new tests. The Tokyo High Court approved for new DNA tests in 2008, which were then carried out in January 2009. The results contradicted the previous tests.

A retrial was then opened, and the verdict yesterday was that the flawed DNA tests and shady investigation had pressured Toshikazu into making a false confession. the court also offered a rare apology to Toshikazu, with the presiding judge Masanibu Sato saying that "I feel deeply sorry as a judge that we have failed to listen to Mr Sugaya's true voice and as a result took away your freedom for 17 and a 1/2 long years." The other judges also stood up and bowed to Toshikazu, who later said that he accepted the apology. The police and prosecuters had apologised earlier. He also mentioned that he was touched and wanted to pay a visit to his parents' grave. However, he did state that he would not forgive the real curlprit. No new suspect has been identified yet. (The Straits Times)

When I read this article, I was immediately reminded of the final episode of Mr Brain. Did you think so too?

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