• Kyodo


The Kanazawa District Court on Thursday ordered the Ishikawa Prefectural Government to pay more than 60 million yen in compensation to the family of a man who died after he was assaulted by a policeman.

The district court awarded 60.86 million yen to the relatives of Hiroshi Miyano, 40, who died in February 1991 after he was assaulted by Masashi Sakamoto, 42, a member of the prefectural police force.

His relatives had sought some 70 million yen in compensation. The Ishikawa Prefectural Government appealed the ruling to a higher court.

“It is clear that Mr. Miyano’s death was caused by the violence” by Sakamoto, presiding Judge Nobuaki Watanabe said.

“The act of kneeing a person clearly goes beyond the extent of acts permitted by the law,” he said.

Miyano, a construction worker, was being driven home from a bar by a friend when a police car with two officers started chasing their vehicle, suspecting the driver was inebriated, the ruling said.

The car being driven by Miyano’s friend crashed into a tree, prompting Miyano to remonstrate with the pursuing police officers, who included Sakamoto.

Sakamoto then kneed Miyano in the stomach and he died shortly afterward, the ruling said.

The prefecture claimed Miyano may have sustained the stomach injuries when the car crashed and even if Sakamoto had in fact kneed him, that would have been a lawful act to stop Miyano from obstructing a police investigation.

Sakamoto was sentenced in March 1999 to a prison term of 21/2 years by the same district court for the assault.

He pleaded not guilty and filed an appeal, and a hearing at a higher court on the appeal is pending. Sakamoto resigned as a police officer in September 1999.

No further detention

The Tokyo High Court on Thursday refused a request made by the prosecution that it detain a Nepalese man who was acquitted April 14 of a charge of murdering a woman in Tokyo in March 1997 while they carry out an appeal.

Judge Akira Kitani of the Tokyo High Court said the Tokyo District Court’s acquittal should be respected, and that it cannot approve detaining Govinda Prasad Mainali, 33, any longer without good cause.

The Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office asked the Tokyo High Court on Wednesday to detain Mainali after the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office made the same request but was rejected by the Tokyo District Court.

Judge Kitani criticized prosecutors for repeatedly exercising their authority in asking for Mainali to be detained further.

“Prosecutors should have done their best in the trial at the district court as they could have easily expected difficulties in appealing the case because the defendant was facing deportation,” he said.

Mainali had been overstaying his visa. Under the current legal system, nothing can be done to prevent foreign defendants from being absent during appeals when they are separately accused of immigration control law violations and are forced to leave the country, he said.

After the ruling on April 14, Mainali, a former restaurant worker, was released from custody but was immediately detained by immigration officers.

The prosecutor’s office asked the district court to keep Mainali in Japan, fearing that his deportation would make their appeal difficult.