Man wrongly sent up for rape sues for redress

Kyodo

A 40-year-old man who last year was cleared of charges of rape and attempted rape in a retrial ruling that said his confession was coerced demanded Thursday about ¥12.5 million in redress for the more than two years he spent in prison.

Hiroshi Yanagihara filed the demand with the Takaoka branch of the Toyama District Court, which will decide on the amount of compensation after assessing the level of his mental pain and the degree of negligence on the part of police, prosecutors and judges, his lawyer said.

Yanagihara was held for about 1,000 days in total between his arrest in April 2002 and his release on parole from prison in January 2005, according to the lawyer.

But in August 2006, another man who had been arrested in a separate case confessed to the crimes initially laid to Yanagihara, prompting prosecutors to request a retrial.

The ¥12.5 million represents the maximum amount of compensation payable under the 1950 criminal compensation law, which sets redress levels at between ¥1,000 and ¥12,500 per day of detention for defendants who are later cleared.

Yanagihara told reporters money would not put an end to his suffering. He said he is considering filing a separate damages suit against the central and local governments over his wrongful conviction under the state redress law.

In its retrial ruling in October, the district court rejected Yanagihara’s defense demand for testimony from his interrogators to reveal how he had been forced to confess.

Yanagihara was arrested in the rape and attempted rape cases in 2002 in Himi, Toyama Prefecture. He was sentenced to three years in prison and served about two. Last November, the other man was sentenced to 25 years for sexually assaulting 14 teenage girls.