Kawaii Case

Ex-convict requests retrial of 1991 murder case

A 46-year-old man who spent time in prison for drowning his girlfriend's son in 1991 filed a request for retrial with the Tokyo District Court on Thursday. page261_1Toshihiko Kawai talks to reporters in Tokyo on Thursday after filing a request at the Tokyo District Court for a retrial of a 1991 murder case for which he served prison time. Toshihiko Kawai, from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, said that new evidence supports his alibi in the case. Kawai was arrested in August 1991 on suspicion of drowning the 5-year-old son of his girlfriend in the bathtub at the woman's house. He confessed to investigators that he had killed the boy, but pleaded not guilty in court. In 1996, the Tokyo High Court sentenced him to seven years in prison, and the Supreme Court later turned down his appeal. He was released from prison in 2000. In his retrial application, Kawai submitted as new evidence an analysis of the boy's autopsy by Yokichi Ono, a professor of forensic medicine at Nippon Medical School, concerning the estimated time of death. Supreme Court decision said that the boy died between 9:20 p.m. Aug. 22 and 3:20 a.m. Aug. 23, based on the police autopsy done seven hours after the body was discovered. Professor Ono also considered the results of the initial police examination of the body conducted one hour after the body was found and determined the boy died between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Aug. 23. Kawai's defense says that he was away from the girlfriend's house during that period, doing his newspaper delivery job. "I have experienced pain and suffering for 14 years. The initial estimate (of the boy's death) was based on the police and prosecutors' theory, and I hope the court will examine the new evidence and hand down a decision that naturally should have been handed down" the first time, Kawai told a news conference after filing the retrial request.
再審請求: 殺人罪で服役の男性 改めて無罪主張へ 毎日新聞 2005510  静岡県浜松市で91年、交際相手の女性の二男(当時5歳)を殺したとして殺人罪で懲役7年の判決が確定した同市の河合利彦さん(46)=00年5月に刑期満了で出所=が、12日にも東京高裁に再審請求を申し立てることが分かった。  事件は91年8月、同市和田町の女性宅で、女性の二男が顔を浴槽内に沈められて死亡した。河合さんは公判で一貫して犯行を否認し、無罪を主張していたが、98年に判決が確定した。  弁護団によると、新たに鑑定を行った結果、死亡推定時刻が変わり、その時間帯に河合さんにアリバイが確認された。 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No retrial for convicted child-killer who claimed police coercion Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) The Tokyo High Court turned down on Monday a retrial plea by a man who served prison time after being convicted of killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old son in 1991. Toshihiko Kawai, 49, self-employed, from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, sought a retrial in 2005 after serving seven years for the murder. He was convicted of drowning the boy in the bathtub at his girlfriend's house. Kawai confessed to killing the boy during police interrogation but reversed his statement and pleaded not guilty in court. He claimed he had been forced into a false confession "through violence and coercion" by investigators. However, the courts held him responsible for the boy's death, citing as evidence testimony by his girlfriend that he took the victim to the bathroom "to punish" the boy. He continued to proclaim his innocence after he was released from prison following completion of his sentence in 2000. In seeking the retrial in May 2005, Kawai's lawyers submitted to the high court a new expert analysis of evidence indicating the boy died several hours later than was determined by the court, and claimed Kawai had an alibi for the true time of death. According to the Tokyo High Court ruling on the murder, the boy died between 9:20 p.m. Aug. 22 and 3:20 a.m. Aug. 23. Kawai's lawyers said the new analysis estimates the time of death at between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Aug. 23, and they said Kawai had already left for his newspaper delivery job. In rejecting the retrial plea, the high court said the new estimate on the time of death is not trustworthy because it includes irrational figures in its calculations. The Japan Times: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008 (C) All rights reserved