Tokyo Court Awards Damages for Illegal Investigation of 1967 Case

Society

Tokyo, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo High Court ruled on Friday that the investigation of a murder case in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1967 was illegal, ordering the national and prefectural governments to pay a total of about 74 million yen in damages.

The damages lawsuit was filed by Shoji Sakurai, 74, who was found not guilty in a retrial in 2011 over the murder of a carpenter in the Fukawa district of Tone in the eastern Japan prefecture.

Sakurai was arrested and charged with robbery and murder in 1967 and sentenced to an indefinite prison term by the Supreme Court in 1978. He was kept in detention for a total of 29 years before the retrial started.

The Japanese and Ibaraki governments insisted that there was no illegality in the investigation and asked the high court to dismiss the damages claim.

Handing down the ruling, Judge Masatoshi Murakami said that public prosecutors committed an "illegal act" in making Sakurai confess the murder by telling him fabricated facts.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press