Statement on the Special Appeal by Prosecutors in the Matsubase Case
It is highly regrettable that prosecutors have made a special appeal in the “Matsubase case” on December 4, 2017 against the decision of the First Criminal Division of the Fukuoka High Court to uphold the commencement of a retrial and reject the immediate appeal by prosecutors.
Recognizing that no critical evidence linking the petitioner with the crime exists other than his confession which was made during the investigation, the commencement of retrial was granted due to new developments with many new pieces of evidence provided by the defense team. The decision shows that such new evidence made the credibility of the main point of the petitioner’s confession questionable and there arose a reasonable doubt about the factual findings to sustain the conviction of the final judgment.
Afterwards, at the trial for immediate appeal, the credibility of the petitioner’s confession was once again denied based on a comprehensive evaluation of both new and old evidence, and thus, the ruling to start the retrial was upheld.
Upon the issuance of this ruling, the JFBA demanded on November 29 that the prosecutors immediately proceed with the retrial of this case without filing a special appeal against it.
The prosecutors’ appeal against the commencement of retrial should not be allowed based on the principles of retrial regulations that seek prompt redress for the innocent. What is expected of prosecutors as representatives of the public interest is to humbly accept this decision and realize a fair trial once the retrial is commenced, instead of opposing the commencement of retrial itself, which ends up only prolonging the proceedings for no purpose. Given the fact that the petitioner turned 84 years old this year, no further time should be lost for him to be found not guilty and obtain relief for the human-rights violation.
The JFBA strongly demands that the retrial decision be finalized as soon as possible, and that the judgment of acquittal will be granted through the speedy proceedings at the trial.
December 14, 2017
Japan Federation of Bar Associations