DNA-cleared Kagoshima man’s acquittal over girl’s ’12 rape stands


The Fukuoka High Court ruling acquitting a man charged with raping a teenage girl in southwestern Japan in 2012 was finalized Wednesday, after prosecutors did not appeal it.

The 23-year-old man in the city of Kagoshima was given a four-year prison term by the Kagoshima District Court in 2014. But the Fukuoka High Court’s Miyazaki branch overturned the ruling earlier this month, determining that a fresh analysis of DNA evidence proved he was not the culprit.

The high court ruling has also brought into question the appropriateness of earlier DNA analysis conducted by police, noting that crime laboratory staff involved in the work might either have had “extremely poor” analysis skills or sought to “hide” an outcome that could contradict police views on the case.

The Fukuoka High Public Prosecutor’s Office admitted it did not fully agree with the ruling, but that it “cannot find reasons to appeal (as cited in the Code of Criminal Procedure) such as constitutional violations.”

The man was indicted for allegedly assaulting the girl, at that time aged 17, in an entertainment district in Kagoshima in October 2012.

The district court convicted the man based on the victim’s statement and a DNA test of saliva detected from her breast.

Semen taken from the victim was said to be “too small for analysis.”

But a further DNA analysis of the semen, conducted during the appeal trial at the request of the man’s defense counsel, showed it did not match the defendant’s.

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