Yesterday came the unusual news that for once, a man had been found innocent of a groping incident after a judge overturned the guilty verdict on appeal.
After reviewing camera footage from inside the bus, the judge said that it was evident that the man, a 30-year old middle-school teacher, could not have groped the high school girl, unless, of course, he has a third hand that everyone has missed up to this point.
For a judge to overturn a guilty verdict is still relatively rare in Japan, where remnants of the old legal system still seem to linger despite the introduction of mixed juries. This incident certainly echoes the sentiments in Suo Masayuki’s well-known film, I Just Didn’t Do It, and the very fact that it makes big news suggests how unusual the situation is.
Netizens are extremely glad to see justice for an innocent man, but have nothing but hatred for the girl who accused him.
From Sponichi Annex:
Groping Incident: “Doubt About Whether Victim Made Mistake”, Teacher Found Innocent As Verdict Overturned
On June 15, during the appeal trial of a Mitaka municipal middle school teacher (30), who was being tried in violation of the Tokyo Anti-Nuisance Ordinance for having touched the bottom of a female high-school student while on a bus, the Tokyo High Court threw out the first ruling of the Tachikawa divison of the Tokyo District Court, which stated that the man should pay 400000 yen in compensation, because “there are still doubts as to whether the victim made a mistake”, handing down a reversal of the guilty verdict.
The victim had testified that the she had been touched on her bottom through her skirt by the teacher, who had been standing close to her on the bus. Judge Kawai Kenshi indicated that “In the footage from the bus’ security camera, the teacher is operating his mobile phone with his right hand, and holding a strap with his left. It is difficult to think that he groped anyone”. The judge rejected the reliability of the testimony given that there is the possibility that the girl thought that the man’s rucksack touching her was an instance of groping.
Furthermore, the judge severely criticised the ruling of the first court, saying “It is a mistake to rely on everything in a testimony, there is a leap of logic here. There was a lack of prudence in the judgement”.
The first court had found the man guilty, saying “We cannot say that it is easy to grope someone with one’s left hand while operating a mobile phone with one’s right; however, we also cannot say that it is impossible”.
The teacher was accused of having touched the high school girl on a bus that went through Mitaka City on an evening in December, 2012, and at present is suspended from his job due to the prosecution. At a press conference following the judgement, the teacher stated that “I fought it because of the texts and phone calls from my students, ‘We believe in you!’. I’m so glad that I’ve been given justice”.
Comments from 2ch.net:
It’s only right.
So all this took more than 2 and a half years?
Yeah, but there’s no penalty for the girl.
Ah beautiful Japan, where if milady just points her finger, a man’s life is over.
I want this girl to be locked up for messing up an innocent man’s life.
I wonder why it is that with really heinous crimes they immediately find people innocent, and yet it’s only with groping they assume guilt?
Can’t he sue the district court judge?
“The first court had found the man guilty, saying “We cannot say that it is easy to grope someone with one’s left hand while operating a mobile phone with one’s right; however, we also cannot say that it is impossible”.”
We can’t say it’s impossible so he’s guilty…
The district court is really stupid.
She must have been an excessively self-conscious bitch.
It’s because they don’t punish women like this that false accusations continue to be made over and over again.
The district court must have abandoned all logic.
Even if you are found innocent, just by getting caught up in that kind of thing your life’s over, right? It’s awful.
A district court that finds someone guilty though they don’t even know whether there was any proof of groping in the first place should just die.
Comments from Twitter:
Ah Japan, a woman-dominated country…?
What’s going to happen when, from the courts to the government, we’re too hard on men and too soft on women?
Now, I’m not gay, but I really relax when I’m surrounded by men on a full train.
I don’t want to ride trains with women.
So shit. Shouldn’t he counter-sue the woman, the judge and the prosecutors?
Sue the woman in the civil courts over this.
Xi / Musicarus:
With this incident I really would shudder if he’d been found guilty even in the High Court.
Ooo, it’s amazing to have the verdict reversed to innocent. Saying that, the first judgement was completely awful though.
To say that it’s not impossible — what a capable judge, to find him guilty just by this ambiguous possibility! ( ^ω^ )
And still, the woman has no crime, does she. So this is equality, huh?
Even at the time I remember that this was trending but I guess they reached a decision huh? The thing with false accusations is that it’s just so sad that even if you manage to get an innocent verdict, your life’s still in tatters.