High court denies retrial for 1966 murder
NHK -- Jun 12
A Japanese high court has decided not to grant a retrial to an 82-year-old former professional boxer in a 1966 murder case.

In 1980, the Supreme Court finalized a death sentence for Iwao Hakamada for killing 4 members of a family in Shizuoka City. He pleaded innocent and filed for a retrial.

In 2014, the Shizuoka District Court granted a retrial and released him after 48 years in detention. The district court accepted DNA findings submitted by Hakamada's defense counsel that undermined the prosecutors' claim that his blood was found on items of clothing that purportedly belonged to him.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling.

On Monday, presiding judge Takaaki Oshima of the Tokyo High Court said deep doubt remains over the method and utility of the DNA tests that were accepted by the lower court. He also said the findings that the DNA type did not match the defendant's could not be trusted.

The judge also questioned the lower court's finding that the clothing items had highly likely been fabricated by the police. He said there is nothing illogical in thinking that the clothes belonged to Hakamada. He concluded that no reasonable doubt has arisen for the guilty conviction.

But the judge did not cancel the lower court's decision to release the man, citing his age and health condition.

Hakamada's defense counsel says it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

News sources: NHK, Kyodo
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