Mainali: 15 years in jail equals ¥68 million

Kyodo

Govinda Prasad Mainali of Nepal, who was acquitted last month after wrongfully spending 15 years in jail for the 1997 murder of a Tokyo woman, is seeking some ¥68 million in compensation from the government for his time spent behind bars.

Mainali, 46, who was freed and deported in June when his retrial request was finally granted, filed the request with the Tokyo District Court, sources said Friday. He is believed to be demanding about ¥68 million for wrongful imprisonment.

Under the criminal compensation law, a wrongfully imprisoned person is allowed to seek damages from the state and the sum is determined after the government considers such factors as the length of time served and degree of mental distress caused. The amount per day ranges from ¥1,000 to ¥12,500.

Mainali is seeking ¥12,500 per day and may also file a lawsuit for damages, the sources said.

The Tokyo High Court on Nov. 7 cleared Mainali after prosecutors admitted at a retrial in October that they now believe he is innocent, in light of belated DNA evidence that indicated another man committed the murder.

The victim’s corpse was found in a vacant apartment in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, in March 1997. Mainali, a former restaurant employee, lived nearby and had been acquainted with the woman.

He was arrested by Tokyo police in May 1997 on charges of robbery and murder, and had been seeking a retrial since 2005.

The Tokyo District Court initially acquitted Mainali but the Tokyo High Court, based on the same circumstantial evidence, later sentenced him to life in prison and the Supreme Court finalized the ruling.

Prosecutors, however, had other evidence that they chose not to present in Mainali’s earlier trials, including semen that was found in and on the victim and whose DNA matched that of another man. Only recently tested, this evidence fully exonerated Mainali.