Mainali retrial looks likely to go forward

Kyodo

The retrial in absentia of Govinda Prasad Mainali, 45, a Nepalese man convicted of killing a woman in Tokyo in 1997 and who spent about 15 years in prison before being freed based on exculpatory evidence and deported, is on track, because prosecutors let Monday’s deadline to block the action pass.

The retrial expected to clear Mainali is based on a June 7 Tokyo High Court decision that the Tokyo High Prosecutor’s Office did not bother to appeal with the Supreme Court on Monday.

In the retrial, which is expected to begin in several months, prosecutors say they will claim again that Mainali is guilty of killing the female Tokyo Electric Power Co. worker. Mainali was acquainted with the victim and lived near the vacant Shibuya Ward apartment where she engaged in prostitution and was found slain.

He was initially acquitted by the Tokyo District Court in 2000 and placed in detention for deportation for overstaying his visa. Prosecutors then brought him before the high court, which sentenced him to life, a penalty upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003. Mainali filed an appeal for a retrial in 2005.

Recent DNA tests of semen found inside and on the woman, as well as of hair found on the corpse, matched that of another, as yet unidentified man — evidence prosecutors didn’t present in Mainali’s earlier trials.

The special appeal by prosecutors seeking to block the retrial cannot be filed unless a ruling is in contravention of the Constitution or a judicial precedent. The prosecutor’s office said last week it would not file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Mainali was deported shortly after he was freed from a Yokohama prison and deported to Nepal.