The Toyama District Court on Monday ordered the Toyama prefectural government to pay damages in the amount of 19.66 million to a man wrongfully accused of rape in 2002.
The court ruled that Hiroshi Yanagihara, 47, a former taxi driver in Himi City, Toyama Prefecture, was wrongfully arrested and convicted in 2002 on suspicion of raping two women, NTV reported.
In 2005, Yanagihara was released after police arrested another man who confessed to the crimes. In 2007, the court officially proclaimed Yanagihara's innocence in a retrial, but in 2009, Yanagihara filed a suit against the prefectural and central governments, as well as the police department responsible for his wrongful arrest on the grounds that they had forced him to provide a false testimony and committed other illegal actions during the investigation, NTV reported.
Yanagihara demanded 104.4 million yen in damage compensation for his wrongful arrest and time spent in prison for a crime he had not committed.
In handing down the court's ruling on Monday, the presiding judge said: "Due to illegal practices on behalf of the police department in charge of the case including but not limited to, forcing the defendant to provide a false confession, this court hereby finds the accused guilty. As such, the court demands reparations be paid by the department and prefecture in the amount of 19.66 million yen. The court however does not sustain the motion for reparations from the central government as there was no illegality in filing criminal charges at the time of the plaintiff's arrest."
Following the court's ruling Yanagihara told reporters, "I am just glad the court recognized the illegality of the police in charge of the investigation. I feel pretty good about the outcome."© Japan Today