On Wednesday, a high court in Nagoya refused to grant a retrial to Masaki Tanabe, a man who served 17 years in prison for the abduction and killing of a 22-month-old boy in 2002. Tanabe’s lawyers had called for a reopening of the case, claiming that his confessions during police questioning were not credible. However, the Nagoya High Court upheld its previous decision from January 2019, rejecting the request for a retrial.
Tanabe was convicted of killing Sho Murase by taking the boy out of his father’s car at a parking lot in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, and throwing him into the sea from a nearby pier, resulting in his drowning. In seeking a retrial, Tanabe’s defense team submitted an expert analysis of the sea tide during the time of the incident, arguing that the location where the boy fell into the sea did not match the location Tanabe claimed in his confession.
However, Presiding Judge Mihoko Tanabe determined that the expert’s view was not reliable enough to alter the judgment on the credibility of Tanabe’s confessions. Tanabe’s defense team plans to file a special appeal with the Supreme Court.
Tanabe, previously known as Kawase, had denied the accusations during his trial. The Nagoya District Court acquitted him of the charges in January 2006, citing unnatural confessions and a lack of direct evidence or witnesses. However, the Nagoya High Court overturned the lower court’s ruling in July 2007 and sentenced him to a 17-year prison term, deeming his confessions credible. The Supreme Court upheld the high court judgment, finalizing the ruling in 2008.
Tanabe had filed a request for a retrial in 2016, which was initially rejected in 2019. He was released in August 2022 after serving the full sentence. The latest decision by the Nagoya High Court maintains the previous ruling, denying a retrial for Tanabe.
Source – japantimes