crime

High Court rules in favor of retrial for Nepalese man convicted of 1997 murder

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© 2012 AFP

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I remember this case. I always thought the guy got a raw deal.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wow how shady is this case? they found a hair at the crime scene so he murdered her !?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

gogogoJun. 07, 2012 - 02:25PM JST

Wow how shady is this case? they found a hair at the crime scene so he murdered her

!?

He did shag the woman. They found a used condom with his semen in the toilet. The semen was a few days old.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

poor fellow, let's hope he is released and deported soon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As usual the prosecutors SHUD be up on charges!

Hope this gets a fair re-trial! Maybe there is hope in improving trials here.

But hey as long as we live here, lose a few hairs, leave our DNA lying around anyone of us cud find ourselves on trial for ANYTHING given the "logic" of so called prosecutors on these isles!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dog: Shag aside, the fresh semen "inside the woman" (quoting article) was not his according to this article.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Do they have a record on the owner of the DNA ? They better also move it with finding the real criminal. That dude may already be trying to leave the country hearing this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He did shag the woman.

Does that make him a killer?

The court should be far more concerned with who shagged her last, although that does not make one a killer either.

In short, they need to find the person who killed her, not the people who shagged her.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The only evidence against him is that he had the key and lived nearby. I don't think he is the murderer, but why did she give him the house key???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

valued_customerJun. 07, 2012 - 03:40PM JST

Does that make him a killer?

I've been giving money to the Free Govinda cause for about 10 years. I've always thought that the evidence was too circumstantial, but the inference that a mere hair convicted him is totally wrong and the idea that some on here are saying he was targetted as a foreigner with no connection is likewise. He knew Yasuko, he had a key to her apartment and he had confessed to paying for sex with her a few days before.

He wasn't exactly blameless and he was already breaking the law by living here and working here illegally. However all that does not make him a murederer, but you can't blame the police for placing him as a suspect

Yasuko kept a diary detailing all her customers, but the details were rather vague and just commented on their nationality and age. She had kept all the used condoms and the police retreived them, so they should have a fuller DNA sample of the actual murderer..

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is interesting to see that a man could stay in jail even after being acquitted because there was an appeal by the prosecutors. Is it a common occurrence ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guillaume VarèsJun. 07, 2012 - 04:01PM JST

It is interesting to see that a man could stay in jail even after being acquitted because there was an appeal by the prosecutors. Is it a common occurrence ?

Double jeopardy is a feature of the Japanese crimal system and because Govinda was a visa overstayer, if they hadn't kept him in custody before the prosecitors appealed the first verdict, he would have had to be deported and the japanese legal system couldn't take its due course.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He will be released from Yokohama prison immediately and sent to Tokyo Immigration Yokohama Buraeu for violating immigration laws.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No rush to get justice for foreigners in Japan-all foreigners in Japan are wise to note the circumstances of this case.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She was a TEPCO employee? Why am I not surprised...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The guy should sue the ministry of injustice (sic) For all those wasted years!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

kurisupisuJun. 07, 2012 - 06:46PM JST

The guy should sue the ministry of injustice (sic) For all those wasted years!

Some people sound so stupid on this thread. The japanese police followed the letter of the law, the Ministry Of Justice followed the letter of the law and the prosecution service in Japan... well I don't know, they are the real rotten core of the japanese legal service.

It's not as if this guy was a total victim. The guy was an illegal worker in Japan who used the services of a prostitute ,who was murdered. A lot of Japanese have been convicted on less.

This was a gross judicial injustice, but, while I hate relativism, it could have happened in the initial stages 100% in the US and probably 90% in Europe. Nobody is to blame and sadly a very confused young woman lost her life.

Thankfully this injustice looks like it will be remedied, that Govinda hadn't been given the death penalty and Japanese lawyers keep their tradition of working for free in cases they consider a miscarriage of justice.

The japanese lawyers are the real heroes in this case.

Thanks.

-6 ( +0 / -7 )

Yes...sue the government of Japan and milk them for every Yen they have. Justice was not done here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese prosecutors have a rather scary problem of creating the evidence to fit the crime when they THINK they have a suspect. Like this case.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The biggest problem is the police did not examine the DNA of his hair and semen at that time. Police did not do it at all. This is the biggest responsibility of the police. I wonder how much money they would have to compensate for him of 15 year life in jail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

... so the sum total of evidence against this guy is that he had a key and once had sex with this woman? No eyewitness testimony of him at the scene, no DNA or in her body, no fingerprints?

... This is a complete travesty of justice. It just shows how the Japanese achieve their 99% conviction rate, by pinning the crime on the closest convenient person with no concern with whether that person is guilty or not.

If I were a murderer in Japan I'd sleep really well, because I'd know that the police had already pinned the crime on the closest person and stopped looking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I spent some time at Yokohama Prison for a second visa violation last year. I was in the same kojo as Govinda. (13Kojo) We spoke and worked out during undo on numerous occasions. Considering what he's been through, he was in remarkably good spirits. He always talked positive. "Don't worry about yourself, Mr. Michael. Worry about what good you can do in the world." It was like talking with Confucious. His family comes to see him, but rarely. His father passed a while back, too. According to Govinda, he had a time sheet from his work that exonerated him at the first trial. In the second trial the time card was not allowed to be introduced as evidence. Not sure why. Anyway, the guy didn't come across as a killer to me. I'm rooting for him to finally get justice. I'm sure it will move at a snail's pace, though. The DNA evidence came to light last AUGUST. Why are they just now deciding if he gets a retrial? They are more concerned with "saving face" than righting a wrong. Hang in the, Govinda. Ganbate!

5 ( +3 / -0 )

I just hope justice is served - and it is correct. It seems to me it was all too easy for the cops to pin this heinous crime on (probably) the only customer of the prostitute who was a gaijin. Nice and convenient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hey guys, get used to all the wonderful corruption being committed by our trusted authorities. All the backlash in the world doesnt and wont change a thing. History has proven that. We have been had.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope he is cleared and has the opportunity the file a major lawsuit!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really hope they are not thinking to just shamelessly deport him back empty handed. They should pay him for all the 15 years he spent locked up. J-corrupted judicial system @ its finest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

well, there are two factors that made this guy from nepal spend 15 years in prison for the crime that he didn't commit:

The japanese police found it convinient to arrest an illegal immigrant from a third world poor country. because he came from a country that has the most incompetent diplomats and the most ineffecient governmnet in the world

imagine, if the mainali guy was from the US or the UK.. would he have gone through the same ordeal? NO. The world is indeed well--how do i put it..?-- a bit discriminatory.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is psychology that always thinks poor convict crime most, but how will other people know the hospitality and loyalties of nepalese poor people. Its our poverty that leads to us to move to other part of world and get blamed for that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sangam, it's the fault of your government that you are poor. The government of Nepal is so corrupt and venal it makes Japan's government look like saints.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I agree with Edward point and also add that it is the citizens how do not understand political games. It is now very high time to make all nepali citizen aware of corrupt politicians.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it ridiculous that any legal immigrant can be turned into an "overstayer" because they have no opportunity to renew their visas while in prison -- whether the imprisonment is legitimate or not.

Anyone sent to prison and then rehabilitated, or exonerated, should have the same number of months or years that had been remaining on the visa before arrest re-attached so that they can re-start their life in the same position that they were in before it was interrupted. And of course an innocent prisoner should be compensated by the State for the years that were taken from him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it ridiculous that any legal immigrant can be turned into an "overstayer" because they have no opportunity to renew their visas while in prison -- whether the imprisonment is legitimate or not.

Mainali came to Japan in February of 1994 under a 90 day visa. The term "legal" immigrant does not apply to him.

And of course an innocent prisoner should be compensated by the State for the years that were taken from him.

True. Only if the retrial results in his innocense. If not, and Mainali stays in Nepal, he's gotten off.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

High-profile arrest of an unpopular foreign suspect put prosecutors in a tough position, and Mainali made matters worse when he failed to abide by Japanese customs. By lying to the police, he destroyed his credibility and confirmed the prosecutor's belief that he was guilty. Once prosecutors decided to go to trial, the incentives of the Japanese system made it difficult to turn back. And once Mainali found himself on trial, even an acquittal couldn't save him from jail time. Of course, wrongful imprisonment isn't endemic to Japan. In the U.S., this case might have ended, as majority of cases do, in a plea bargain, one tactic not available to Japanese prosecutors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sure after 15yrs in jail, now he speaks enough Japanese to defend himself against this corrupted medieval system

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...after 15yrs in jail, now he speaks enough Japanese...

Yeah, because prisoners chat around all day long ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mainali came to Japan in February of 1994 under a 90 day visa. The term "legal" immigrant does not apply to him.

Nigelboy, Mainali might have already been overstaying when he was arrested, but it doesn't change the fact that regular, non-overstaying immigrants can be turned into artificial "overstayers" the way the system is constructed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From reading the Japanese pro-Govinda website at least, even before the present DNA evidence, as Nobotan33 mentions above, Mr. Mainali would have been very hard pressed to arrive back at the flat at the time the victim was seen going into her room with a man (11:30 pm). The support group also present other reasons why Mr. Mainali was

So why did the Japanese police/prosecutor/ judge think him guilty. Reading today's Asahi, they mentioned two things in particular encouraged the police to think that Mr. Mainali was guilty:

1) A man of his description - 'darker', 'perhaps South East Asian' - was seen going into the victim's flat with her on the night of the murder (the police are argued to have encouraged the witness to come to this conclusion by letting the witness see Mr. Mainali, then asking did it look like him. In the witness's first statement, the witness said the man was indistinct. But all the same the witness was prepared to sign testimony to the fact that it was a non-Japanese man of similar appearance to Mr. Mainali that he saw with the victim. Prejudice? Or fact?)

2) When interrogating him, and letting Mr. Mainali know that he was not under arrest for suspected murder but only for overstaying his visa, his expression changed in a way which suggesting to them that rather than being unconnected with the murder, he felt palpably guilty about it. This from a policeman who is 69 now, about 54 and of considerable experience at the time. To what extent this intuition on the part of the interrogators was allowed to influence the verdict I do not know but there may be a cultural difference in the extent to which such intuitions, and non-verbal communications, are seen to be relevant. If such a cultural difference exists, I do not think either side (allowing only linguistically provable evidence v.s. also allowing non-verbal intuitions) is necessarily better or worse than each other.

I am sure that Mr. Mainali was innocent of the charge. However to what extent was his mistaken conviction the result of "corrupted medieval system," and to what extent did it depend upon other factors, both cultural and pertinent to the case?

Other points of note 1) The victims body was not found until ten days after the murder. 2) The reason why Mr. Mainali had the key to where the victim was found was because he hoped to rent the next door flat himself. 3) There were several (four I believe) other Nepalese gentlemen living with Mr. Mainali (in the flat next door to where the victim was found).

While it may seem to some that the Japanese justice system is "medieval," it seems to that other factors may have been involved to cause this mistaken verdict.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I left out the end of a sentence above.

The support group also present other reasons why Mr. Mainali was, and should have been seen to be, innocent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nigelboy, Mainali might have already been overstaying when he was arrested, but it doesn't change the fact that regular, non-overstaying immigrants can be turned into artificial "overstayers" the way the system is constructed.

How so? Please explain.

To use this case as an example of artificial "overstayers" (whatever that means) is a poor example considering the fact that he was here on the 90 day visa which expired almost three years during this incident.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Govinda Prasad Mainali, 45, has already served 15 years in jail He's not going to get reimbursed if he's innocent. He will be deported and someone has to pay for his flight home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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