Statement on Special Appeal Filed by Prosecutors of Fukawa Incident
Yesterday, public prosecutors filed a special appeal against the decision of the fourth criminal division of the Tokyo High Court, which upheld the commencement of a retrial petitioned by Mr. Sakurai and Mr. Sugiyama of the so called "Fukawa Incident" and rejected the immediate appeal by the prosecution. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) expresses our deep regret for this special appeal.
The Tokyo High Court ruled, after carefully examining a considerable amount of new evidence and fully hearing the opinions of the prosecution, that if the new evidence had been submitted during the original trial, reasonable doubt would have existed in convicting the petitioners.
New evidence requested by the defense attorneys had already been in the hands of the prosecution. If they had disclosed the evidence earlier, the petitioners would likely have not been convicted.
Public prosecutors, as representatives of the public interest, are expected to sincerely accept the decision and contribute to a fair retrial. The special appeal against the commencement of a retrial only prolongs the proceedings, is against public opinion, and does nothing but damage the dignity of the public prosecutors.
The JFBA urges the prosecution to humbly listen to the voice of the public, immediately withdraw the special appeal, and cooperate in finding the truth and facilitating the proceedings.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
July 23, 2008