The Tokyo District Court acquitted a man Wednesday after he had been wrongly detained for 10 months until June in connection with a hit-and-run incident in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward in June 2005 that was later laid to a man who testified against him.
During closing arguments in July, prosecutors demanded that the court acquit the 28-year-old house painter of dangerous driving causing injuries and other charges, saying it was clear the defendant was not the perpetrator.
The Metropolitan Police Department has identified the hit-and-run driver as Tomohisa Enomoto, 21, and his accomplice as Hokuto Sugano, also 21. The two have since been charged with dangerous driving and perjury.
Judge Makoto Shibata said, “The testimony by Enomoto (and Sugano) was the only evidence (against the painter), but they are not trustworthy. There’s no proof (the accused committed) the crime.”
The incident occurred on June 27, 2005, when a car being chased by patrol cars ran a red light at a intersection in Setagaya Ward and collided with a small motorcycle. The 26-year-old newspaper delivery man on the motorcycle suffered serious injuries in the collision.
Enomoto and Sugano, who both knew the house painter, falsely testified in court that the defendant was the driver.
Despite the testimony in court by Enomoto and Sugano, the defendant had maintained his innocence.
In March, Tokyo police found an abandoned car on a mountain based on information obtained from the defendant’s friends.
The wrongfully arrested man had served as a middleman to sell the car to Enomoto from its original owner.
From items found inside the car, police determined Enomoto was driving the car at the time of the hit and run.
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