The retrial of a Nepali man who was convicted of murdering a woman in 1997 was held in Tokyo on Monday, clearing the way for him to be acquitted.
Prosecutors read out a statement during the 30-minute "trial" before the Tokyo High Court, Fuji TV reported. The statement said that there was now a strong possibility that someone other than Govinda Prasad Mainalily committed the murder.
The court will issue its verdict on Nov 7.
Mainali, 46, was freed in June after serving 15 years in jail. He was accused of choking to death a 39-year-old employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) in March 1997. After he was released, immigration authorities deported him because he had been illegally staying in Japan at the time of the crime.
In granting the retrial, the court said Mainali doesn't have to return to Japan for the proceedings.
The case came back into the headlines in August 2011 after it was revealed by the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office that saliva found on the victim's breasts belonged to a person of blood type O, which was different to that of Mainali.
Mainali's defense called for fresh DNA tests and a retrial following the discovery.
Mainali at the time was working illegally at an Indian restaurant near the Shibuya apartment where the woman’s body was found. According to the tabloid media, the woman led a double life – TEPCO economist by day, prostitute by night. Mainali was said to be one of her customers.
He pleaded not guilty to murder and was found not guilty by a Tokyo District Court judge. Prosecutors promptly appealed, and the Tokyo High Court in December 2000 secured the guilty verdict they sought. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict in October 2003.
In their statement, prosecutors did not offer an apology to Mainali.© Japan Today