Lawyers for Nigerian man convicted of 2001 robbery submit DNA evidence for retrial

HIMEJI, Hyogo -- Lawyers for a 36-year-old Nigerian man, who had been convicted of robbery in 2001 and sentenced to six years in prison, submitted fresh DNA evidence to the Himeji branch of the Kobe District Court on Oct. 30 to press for his retrial.

The Nigerian man has filed for a retrial to prove his innocence. The DNA analysis was conducted on balaclavas and other materials believed to belong to a suspect in the 2001 robbery of a post office in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. The DNA analysis did not detect the Nigerian man's DNA but the DNA of a third person, the lawyers said. The defense team said, "This is clear evidence to prove that the (Nigerian) man is not the culprit."

In June 2001, two black men wearing balaclavas broke into a post office in Himeji, took 22.75 million yen in cash and fled. The Nigerian man has consistently insisted on his innocence. A foreign man, who was arrested as an accomplice in the case, had stated, "There is another accomplice (different than the Nigerian man)." But the Himeji branch of the Kobe District Court gave the Nigerian man a prison sentence, and the term was confirmed in 2006 when the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal. The Nigerian man filed for a retrial with the Himeji branch of the Kobe District Court in March this year.

The defense team asked Shigemi Oshida, professor emeritus at Nihon University, to conduct analysis on a balaclava which was said to have been used by one of the suspects and left at the scene of the robbery and on another balaclava which was found in storage at the Nigerian man's office and believed to have been used by one of the suspects. The Nigerian man's DNA was found in neither of the balaclavas. Instead, DNA of two different persons was found, according to the lawyers.

The defense team also said it had submitted to the court an excerpt of an expert opinion prepared by the crime lab at Hyogo Prefectural Police on pieces of hair that were attached to the balaclavas.

October 31, 2012(Mainichi Japan)


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