National / Crime & Legal

Judge clears father accused of sexual assault against daughter, saying court cannot establish victim's incapacity to resist

Kyodo

A father accused of sexually assaulting his daughter in Aichi Prefecture in 2017 has been found not guilty because the court was unable to establish that the victim’s ability to resist intercourse with him was diminished, it has been learned.

The ruling was handed down by the Nagoya District Court’s Okazaki branch on March 26.

The defendant had been indicted on a charge of forced sexual intercourse on the basis of reduced mental capacity to resist, relating to incidents involving his daughter at his workplace in August 2017 and at a hotel in September 2017.

In the trial prosecutors had sought a prison term of 10 years, alleging that the victim “had been sexually assaulted since she was in her second year of junior high school and felt unable to resist due to guilt as her father pays for her vocational school tuition.” The defense argued that the “sex was consensual and that she’d had the capacity to resist.”

Presiding Judge Hiromitsu Ukai acknowledged that the victim, who was 19 when the incidents took place, “had sexual intercourse against her will and that she was in a state of being deprived of intention and will to resist the attack.”

At the same time, however, the judge said: “The violence she had sustained when she previously refused sex wasn’t sufficient to provoke fear, and it is difficult to establish that she was fearful of violence and couldn’t resist.”

The ruling also noted that she had consistently denied the advances and avoided encounters with help from her brother, determining that “it is difficult to say she was in a subordinate relationship that she was forced to comply.”

The defense attorney said the trial was based on the principle that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

“We will consult with a higher prosecutor’s office and act accordingly,” said Masako Chiku, a prosecutor at the Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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