About two months have passed since the Tokyo High Court decided to retry Mr. Toshikazu Sugaya, who served 17 years of a life sentence until a new DNA test suggested that he was innocent. But the date of the retrial has not yet been set because the defense counsel, the prosecution and the Utsunomiya District Court — the venue of the retrial — disagree on how the retrial should be held.
Mr. Sugaya was arrested in December 1991 in the May 1990 murder of a 4-year-old girl in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture. Although he retracted earlier confessions of guilt toward the end of his first trial, the Utsunomiya court sentenced him to life imprisonment in July 1993 on the basis of DNA test results. The Tokyo High Court recommended a new DNA test in December 2008 and decided to retry him on the basis of the test results.
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