Italian cleared of cannabis charge

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka District Court on Monday found an Italian man not guilty of possessing cannabis resin but sentenced him to 30 months in prison, suspended for three years, for using a false passport to enter Japan last year.

Renato Sandrini, 38, had been charged with possessing about 4 kg of cannabis found inside his suitcase and with having a false passport when he arrived at Fukuoka airport in July last year. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In his ruling, presiding Judge Hidefumi Hayashi said, “A logical doubt remains on whether the accused was aware that the cannabis was inside his suitcase.”

During investigations, Sandrini told police that he brought the suitcase because he was asked by an acquaintance in Bangkok to hand it over to an Iranian living in Japan.

Public prosecutors had demanded a sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of 1 million yen.

The judge rejected as evidence the prosecutors’ contention that Sandrini’s blood type matched the results of DNA testing conducted on a hair found on adhesive tape wrapped around the cannabis, because Sandrini’s blood type was found to be different in a test conducted during the trial.

Sandrini attempted to enter Japan with a fake Swedish passport when he arrived at Fukuoka airport from Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur on July 9 last year, the ruling said.