Retrial nixed for man condemned in '76 bombing


The Sapporo District Court on Monday rejected a retrial appeal by a man sentenced to hang for the March 1976 bombing of a Hokkaido government building that killed two people and injured 95 others.

According to the wife of 57-year-old Katsuhisa Omori, who met with him in a detention house, Omori said he will “fight by filing an appeal immediately,” describing the ruling as “a crime of those in power that infringes on justice.”

Omori was convicted of carrying out the bombing of the local government office building in Sapporo solely on the basis of circumstantial evidence. He was sentenced to death by the district court in 1983. Omori pleaded not guilty and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal in 1994.

Rejecting the appeal for a retrial filed in 2002, presiding Judge Yasushi Handa at the Sapporo District Court said, “There remains no room for reasonable doubt in the facts acknowledged in the final ruling.”

The court’s decision is consistent with similar rulings that applied rigorous conditions for granting retrials to convicts.

In pursuing a retrial, Omori’s defense team took issue with claims by the police that traces of bomb materials were detected in his living quarters. This was thought to be a key factor leading to his death sentence.

The defense team presented the view of an expert who tried to re-enact the collection of such evidence. The team said it was impossible to detect the alleged traces within the time that the police said was required, and claimed Omori did not have any bomb materials.

The district court said the re-enactment used a different method than the police used and that it was possible to detect the traces in time.

The bombing in question followed a series of bombings that targeted major companies in the 1970s.

Omori had left-leaning tendencies when he was a student and moved to Hokkaido, saying he would fight for the Ainu minority in the prefecture, according to his lawyers and wife, who married him while he was behind bars.