High court upholds retrial of man convicted of 1985 Kumamoto murder
Japan Times -- Nov 30
A high court on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision to retry an 84-year-old man who served prison time for fatally stabbing an acquaintance in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1985.

Rejecting an appeal by prosecutors, the Fukuoka High Court, presided over by Judge Masataka Yamaguchi, said that new evidence presented by the defense team "greatly eroded the credibility of confessions in the investigation process and raised reasonable doubts" over the conviction of Koki Miyata.

The high court ruling followed the Kumamoto District Court's decision in June last year that granted Miyata a retrial due to doubts over the credibility of his confessions.

Miyata initially confessed to investigators that he killed the 59-year-old Matao Okamura, a fellow shogi player, but later denied the charge during court proceedings, saying earlier confessions were not true.

But the district court sentenced him to 13 years in prison in 1986 and the ruling was finalized by the Supreme Court four years later. After being released on parole in 1999, he is now living in a nursing facility.

A lawyer serving as his guardian filed a petition for a retrial with the district court in March 2012 as Miyata has shown symptoms of dementia.

News source: Japan Times
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