crime

Man found innocent of molesting charges by claiming he was pickpocketing

29 Comments
By Master Blaster, RocketNews24

A man has denied touching a woman in a train for sexual reasons because he was “actually” trying to rob someone else.

According to the defendant’s testimony in Osaka District Court, he was riding a crowded train on the Osaka Loop Line at about 4 p.m. on April 9, when he attempted to steal something from the bag of another passenger in front of him.

However, just as he reached out, the train began to shake, causing his hand to collide with an adjacent woman, making contact around her midsection. She then reported him to the authorities, who charged the man with molesting.

During his trial, which concluded on Nov 15, Presiding Judge Arakane deemed that the man was innocent of molestation. He cited the reason for the ruling to be that the woman claimed in the police report that she was touched for 30 seconds, but during the trial, that had changed to three seconds.

Also, immediately after the touch occurred, the man apologized. Judge Arakane felt that the woman may have mistaken that for an admission of guilt, and was generally doubtful of her interpretation of the events that happened.

This is in spite of the prosecution’s claims that, although the defendant had continuously denied the molestation, they say he only claimed to be pickpocketing suddenly during the trial. This is because they believe he, at some point, learnt it had a leaner sentence.

In this molestation case, the prosecution was requesting a two-year prison sentence for violation of the nuisance prevention ordinance. On the other hand, a minor attempted theft conviction would likely result in a few months in prison or even simply a fine.

Readers of the verdict were surprised at how the law applied to these two crimes.

“Huh? What is this?” “That guy just found a hell of a loophole.” “Can’t anyone just say there were rubbing a woman looking for something to steal?” “Seriously? Pickpocketing is a lighter crime than molesting?” “Looks like this guy will have a nice holiday dinner in jail before going free.” “If the punishment for pickpocketing were heavier I would have believed him.”

Whatever did happen on that afternoon, it is clear that the suspect was up to no good and preying on people either for their dignity or their property. The one thing we can learn from this is to pay careful attention to your sense of time. You never know when it will be used against you in a court of law.

Source: Sankei West via Alfalfalfa

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Man found innocent of indecent assault denied 12 million yen compensation by Supreme Court of Japan -- Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges -- Japan: Guilty Until Proven Innocent documentary shines light on controversial legal system【Video】

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29 Comments
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Why is the suspect's name not reportd?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

the woman claimed in the police report that she was touched for 30 seconds, but during the trial, that had changed to three seconds.

She had to embellish to make sure he was arrested. But still, a 3 second touch is more than just an accidental bump caused by the train

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Whatever did happen on that afternoon, it is clear that the suspect was up to no good and preying on people either for their dignity or their property.

That is not clear. He could have bumped into her when the train moved, like he said. Since the woman lied initially, and the prosecution wants to maintain their 99% conviction rate, he knew he was not going to get a fair trial, so this was clever thinking on his part.

No one knows the real story, not even the JT band of clairvoyants.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

He could have bumped into her when the train moved, like he said

But a "bump" is less than a second, not a prolonged three seconds

1 ( +4 / -3 )

so first we had the IwasDrunkAtTheTimeAndDontRememberAnything defense,now are we gonna have serial gropers pulling the I attempting to pickpocket excuse based on the amount of seconds of contact?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

so first we had the IwasDrunkAtTheTimeAndDontRememberAnything defense

That was never a defense, as it wasn't something that got anyone out of punishment, unlike this current excuse.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I predict we'll see a rash of "pick pocketing" crimes in the near future...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Guys, keep both hands where everybody can see them, and run like hell if you are accused, whether or not you did anything

0 ( +4 / -4 )

run like hell if you are accused, whether or not you did anything

So, if a man does molest someone, there are people here who support his efforts to escape?

Right. Good to know where some people's priorities lie - with protecting men at all costs, but not the women who face and fear abuse daily.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

whether or not you did anything

A poor attempt at humor, written and posted before brain was put in gear

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Maria NOV. 20, 2016 - 11:27AM JST

Let me make a controversial argument. Butt-patting, which causes no physical damage, is not worth a prison-sentence. And before you say "Oh, think of the woman's feelings", think whether those feelings can remotely be argued to have an objective base. She wasn't penetrated. She wasn't injured. Something just contacted her skin and she placed a ridiculously high value on it.

I think that molestation should be reduced to the level of an administrative offence (similar to parking tickets) unless it is very repeated or there are other aggravating factors. Fine them 10,000 yen for each offense. That would make the whole business much less painful for all, including the victim who can get it over with within the day. No jidan, no nothing. 10,000 (which is a significant wallet dent for most people) and its over.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Let me make a controversial argument. Butt-patting, which causes no physical damage, is not worth a prison-sentence. And before you say "Oh, think of the woman's feelings", think whether those feelings can remotely be argued to have an objective base. She wasn't penetrated. She wasn't injured. Something just contacted her skin and she placed a ridiculously high value on it.

So you don't think bullying or harassment are a problem either, as long as there's no physical damage, right? Lovely. I can think of all kinds of nasty, truly horrible things to do that don't cause "physical damage."

Honestly, I think we do a bad job in Japan dealing with harassment and molestation. We need to think about these issues more seriously, not downplay them because they don't cause physical harm.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But a "bump" is less than a second, not a prolonged three seconds

You weren't there, so you have no idea whatsoever about the circumstances, including how severely he may have lost his balance, how others in the car affected his motions and the motion of the car itself.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ChaosWyvernNOV. 20, 2016 - 01:49PM JST

Short of people being beaten to death, certainly right now bullying generally does not invoke prison sentences, does it?

Honestly, I think we do a bad job in Japan dealing with harassment and molestation. We need to think about these issues more seriously, not downplay them because they don't cause physical harm.

I'll say that the assignment of overblown values actually makes prevention less effective. To take your example, suppose we say bullying should be criminalized. It sounds like a great idea until you remember the probable effect. First, now that you made it a crime, you are making prosecuting it a lot of work, and requiring a reasonable standard of proof, and lengthy trials in limited numbers of courts - all of which increases the strain on everyone. Second, a lot of the enforcers will feel this overblown penalty is not justified, and this is manifested in them being very strict on the victim's complaint and taking every opportunity to suggest settlement. Third, with the penalties so high, the consequences of a mistaken conviction get all the more serious which leads to even more caution. By now, even the victim herself might be reluctant to seek help since she might not want a prison sentence even for her assailant and she doesn't want to testify in court.

If instead, we make it some kind of administrative offence similar to a traffic ticket, we can avoid these problems. For the average person (or family if we are talking bullying kids), 10000 yen is enough pain to cause reflection if warranted and resentment if unwarranted, yet not big enough to merit a all-out fight. The handling procedure can thus be very abbreviated. Further, it can be delegated and handled locally (say the school can handle it), which makes it more likely they'll actually deal with it rather than bury it in the mud. And I think a similar logic can be made for sexual harassment cases.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

The fact that you consider concern over harassment and molestation to be "overblown values" just proves my point about not taking this seriously.

Actually, many types of harassment are already criminalized, just poorly enforced. Your argument that this creates paperwork is not convincing. So does dealing with any crime, so you could use that argument to decriminalize a lot of things. Our priority should be stopping this behavior, not decreasing paperwork.

Secondly, to the victims this is not "overblown," even if you think it is. A lot of people think drug convictions are overblown, for example. Don't assume everyone will think something is overblown just because you don't take it seriously.

Worst of all is your third point, that victims will not want to see the assailant punished. Excuse me? As someone who has been assaulted multiple times, I totally want to see the assailants punished. I know others who feel the same.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

However, just as he reached out, the train began to shake, causing his hand to collide with an adjacent woman, making contact around her midsection.

Hmmm, not a legal expert but he may have grounds to sue the train company for "sudden speed change resulting in inappropriate yet unintentional fondling while practicing the art of pickpocketing". Or something like that.

I rest my case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the guy is hot, I do not mind longer than three seconds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So now gropers have figured out a way to get lighter sentences.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What if you're a guy and a woman gropes you?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ChaosWyvernNOV. 20, 2016 - 02:56PM JST

Actually, many types of harassment are already criminalized, just poorly enforced.

I'm not sure which country you are talking about, but since this is JapanToday, I must admit to not remembering specific criminalizations of bullying behavior as opposed to generics like Assault and Injury. Further, as you concede, to the extent they exist, it seems that they aren't enforced very often. Why do you think that is?

Our priority should be stopping this behavior, not decreasing paperwork.

If you want to attempt to deter behavior with punishment, you need those punishments to be accessible, and you need to set them at a level that society can agree with (I meant their hearts, not their mouths).

Secondly, to the victims this is not "overblown," even if you think it is.

I think while to some extent, we should take the victim into account, that's not the same as just taking their damage claim at face value. Should we raise the charge for a butt tap to murder if the victim reacts to it by jumping off a building, or should we say maybe the victim's reaction was what's overblown here?

As someone who has been assaulted multiple times, I totally want to see the assailants punished. I know others who feel the same.

I don't know how badly you've been "assaulted". I do remember being bullied (assaulted) as a kid, and since I do remember I bled, technically it was Injury (no bones, though). I did want them to stop naturally but I don't remember feeling the urge to file criminal complaints against them. My teachers, in case you are interested, were aware but took a no-intervention position.

I am aware that some victims do want to see their assailants behind bars. My point is not all do. One way to perhaps get you to see this point of view might be to imagine a system that's actually efficient and fast ... but the only penalty is the death penalty. How enthusiastic are you to send your assailants to the police now?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki Molestation is a pretty big cost to society. It has had a big effect on Japan. 10,000 yen is not a very big deterrent, if that's what you want to do with the punishment. That's a slap on the wrist. It also sends a message that parking tickets and assault of women are about on par for transgressions. From a restorative perspective, more intervention may be warranted. What if, instead of "butt-patting," he pulled a Trump? Either way, Japan already has a bad reputation and a low rating for women's empowerment. If society says to young and old that grabbing them by the p*&$#y is the way to be, everyone will suffer, including your daughters. Should they get ten years on the first offense? Probably no. But, a "no tolerance" policy years ago could have saved a lot of people a lot of agony. I think it can very well be agony to be demoralized and abused in such a way. For the victim, it's probably often traumatic. You think it is ridiculous for women to believe that touching them without their consent deserves serious punishment. I think you're not using your imagination or powers of empathy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What if you're a guy and a woman gropes you?

It's called 2nd base and many of us have been there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems like a case of pick- pocket billiards was being played out y the judge on sentencing this verdict , now every Molester is going to say O! I was only trying to pick her pockets and my hand slipped on a pink Rabbit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This judge should probably be impeached.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

qwerty, if a woman gropes me, my reaction would depend on how good looking she is.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I`m a bit torn. While there are a lot of gropers out there who deserve to be locked up, these chikan type cases on trains seem to be a major source of wrongful convictions in Japan.

There are two problems - one is the fact that people are so crammed into some trains that everyone is in constant physical contact and innocent/inadvertent contact can be mistaken for groping. The second is that even where groping does occur, identifying the actual perpetrator among numerous random people in a close space any one of whose hands could have done the deed is very difficult and may lead to innocent bystanders being arrested.

Combine that with a justice system that mostly relies on coerced confessions to obtain convictions and you have a real problem.

Not sure what the solution is, cameras in train cars might help, but they might not be able to catch all the details.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The article and interpretation are lurid and they fit the bill for "fake news."

The fact of the matter is that the defense is perfectly satisfactory and pretty risky. I think it was very well done, and well, it worked. Here is the deal about the timing though, which is very important, and which is not mentioned in the article at all.

First, he keeps his plea of not guilty for the molestation charge. And, it appears to me, that is the ONLY charge he faced. Since that is the only charge the prosecutors put on him, he is not "copping a plea" to pickpocketing and in fact, he does not need to fear being prosecuted for pickpocketing. He is not "weighing the sentences" or "finding a loophole" at all. He is giving a perfectly reasonable explanation for WHY he was putting his hands all over other people.

Now if he had given his explanation from the very beginning, the prosecution would have included that in his charges and would have forced a plea deal for pickpocketing. He still would have avoided the molestation rap, but he would still get a sentence out of the whole deal.

He played the game right. And if I understand this correctly, he would have had to take the stand to tell his story. That means he was also cross-exed. So this was a pretty risky ploy. The prosecutors blew it. They should have eliminated any other explanation for this guy's actions, and they didn't. They should have shown that he had huge rooms full of pornography and various other complaints against him. But. They didn't. Which kind of hints that he is innocent, right?

They could not show a pattern or motive, he was able to stand up in court and provide a lot more than a shadow of a doubt about what he was up to. Prosecutor fail. Don't even blame the judge. What is he going to do? What evidence is he going to make up to PROVE that this guy was not a pickpocket?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For all those confused about this, "Molestation" includes all levels of sexual assault from touching the genitals above outer clothing,to below outer clothing but above underwear, to below the underwear and digital penetration.

J law structures it's penalties for"Chikan" on those three tiers.

Quite often, men who "Molest" refers to men who have digitally penetrated their victims on a crowded train - and quite often their victims are middle schoolers. It is widespread sexual assault of minors.

Additionally, it is not abnormal for the molester to climax during the assault.

Please do not confuse this with "butt patting" in an office.

Final note:- Safe Japan has only recently classified sexual assault as a crime. It had previously been only an offence, with punishment no more than a fine.

Japan's legal system is not yet mature but don't let's walk back the little progress it's made with assault, and reduce the prevalence of sexual assault to talk of "butt patting".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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