Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Higashi-Sumiyoshi case: (2); Japan. "A dubious arson case," Wrongful Convictions Blog. New experiment leads to retrial but prosecutors appeal.

STORY: "A dubious arson case," - Higashi Sumiyoshi case - Part 2," by Kana Sasakura, published by the Wrongful convictions Blog on April 25, 2012.

GIST: "The new experiment was conducted on May 20, 2011, with a clerk from the prosecutor’s office present. The temperature on the day of the experiment was about the same as the day of the incident. They built the garage with the same kind of vehicle that was in Aoki and Boku’s garage. They reproduced everything including the gas water heater for the bathtub that was located in the garage, the bathroom and bath tub in the next room to the garage, the tilt of the floor of the garage. Boku stated in his confession at the investigation stage that he “spread 7.3 liters of gasoline on the floor of the garage, and lit a fire with a turbo-lighter”. Was this possible? Apparently not, according to the new experiment. It would have taken Boku 36 seconds to spread 7.3 liters of gasoline on the floor of the garage according to his confession. In the new experiment, when gasoline was spread on the floor, the instantly-vaporized gasoline from the floor caused the pilot burner of the gas water heater to blast into flames only after 20.8 seconds, and the whole garage was on fire within 1.6 seconds. It was clear from the new experiment that it was impossible to commit the crime in the way Boku described in his confession. This was a clear evidence that Boku’s confession, which was the main evidence of Aoki and Boku’s guilt in the original trials, was false and totally unreliable. The confessions were, as Aoki and Boku have always contended, false confessions forced out of them during long interrogations by the police. On March 7, 2012, the Osaka District Court ruled to grant retrial. Presiding Judge Kazuo Mizushima stated in the decision that the petitioners’ confessions were unreliable and unreasonable from a “scientific viewpoint”, taking into consideration the result of the new experiment. However, to the dismay of the supporters, the prosecutors instantly appealed the ruling, and the retrial petition is currently being reviewed by the Osaka High Court. It has been 17 years since the day of the incident. Aoki is currently at Wakayama Prison and Boku at Oita Prison, still serving their life sentences."



I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.