TOYAMA (Kyodo) A man who was cleared of rape and attempted rape in a retrial in 2007 sought about ¥100 million in damages Thursday under the 1947 state redress law, his lawyers said.
Hiroshi Yanagihara, 41, filed the suit with the Toyama District Court, naming prosecutors, police and the central and Toyama Prefectural governments as defendants.
His lawyers said their client was arrested and indicted as part of an unlawful investigation and they plan to expose the actual probe and questioning of Yanagihara in the suit.
They said they have asked the Toyama District Public Prosecutor’s Office to preserve all evidence produced between 2002, when Yanagihara was convicted, and 2007, when he was acquitted.
According to the document filed with the court, the Toyama Prefectural Police arrested Yanagihara, who was then a taxi driver, and interrogated him for an extensive period, forcing him into making false confessions in 2002.
Investigators also covered up objective evidence that would have worked in Yanagihara’s favor, including results from DNA tests and telephone records that would have given him an alibi.
Yanagihara was then indicted and sentenced to three years in prison after the court found him guilty based strictly on the results of the police investigation, the document says.
Both the police and prosecutors said they will respond sincerely to the lawsuit and declined further comment.
Yanagihara was detained for 1,005 days between his arrest in April 2002 and his release on parole in January 2005, after being handed a three-year prison term by the Takaoka branch of the Toyama District Court.
His retrial was held in October 2007 at the request of prosecutors after another man who was arrested in a separate case in 2006 confessed to the crimes blamed on Yanagihara. The real culprit was later sentenced to 25 years for sexually assaulting 14 teenage girls.
In March 2008, the Takaoka branch decided to pay redress to Yanagihara, who was demanding about ¥12.5 million for the two years he spent in prison. But the court did not reveal the amount it paid at the time.
The ¥12.5 million represented the maximum amount of compensation payable under the 1950 criminal compensation law, which sets compensation levels at between ¥1,000 and ¥12,500 per day of detention for defendants later acquitted in criminal trials.
Prosecutors and police began partially recording and filming interrogations of criminal suspects on a trial basis in the wake of Yanagihara’s acquittal.
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