Cigarette butt evidence in rape-robbery lost; cop ad-libs

Kyodo

An Osaka Prefectural Police inspector forged evidence last year in an unsolved rape-robbery case, replacing a missing cigarette butt that had been kept as evidence from the crime scene with one that was totally unrelated, sources said Thursday.

The recent misconduct is the latest in a series of scandals involving tampering with evidence and other investigation materials by Osaka police and prosecutors.

The 55-year-old male officer, who was in charge of the criminal affairs section of a local police station at the time, realized that the cigarette stub found at the scene and believed to have been left by the suspect had gone missing from the police station.

He then prepared another cigarette and instructed a subordinate lieutenant to file it as evidence, the sources said.

The prefectural force will hand prosecutors the case against the inspector and the lieutenant as well as carry out the appropriate punishment, the sources said.

The police inspector confessed the forgery to his superiors this year and explained that he had done so to cover up the loss of the evidence ahead of a general inspection last October. The inspection had been conducted to check if evidence was being managed properly.