Singaporean woman acquitted of smuggling stimulants into Japan

July 21, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)

Japanese version

The Tokyo District Court has acquitted a Singaporean woman of smuggling stimulants into Japan from Hong Kong in a lay-judge trial.

    "There is no evidence that the accused was aware illegal drugs were hidden in the suitcase (she attempted to bring into Japan), and there is no proof that she committed the crime," Presiding Judge Yasuo Tsujikawa said as he handed down the ruling on July 20.

    Prosecutors had demanded that the 43-year-old defendant be slapped with a 12-year prison term and a 5 million yen fine. Moreover, prosecutors demanded that 54,590 yen she was accused of earning from the incident be confiscated.

    The woman was indicted on charges of violating the Stimulants Control Act for attempting to smuggle some 2.5 kilograms of stimulants from Hong Kong into Japan via Haneda Airport on June 2, 2015.

    The woman and her defense counsel argued that she had been asked by a man she got acquainted with on the internet to bring a suitcase from Hong Kong to Japan without knowing that stimulants were hidden inside it.

    Prosecutors had countered the defense's claim by pointing out that she had been offered a large amount of money for her work.

    However, the presiding judge dismissed prosecutors' arguments by saying, "The woman's claim can't be deemed unnatural."

    The woman's defense lawyer praised the ruling saying, "The lay judges made appropriate judgment in light of common sense."

    Yoshikazu Ochiai, deputy superintending prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, suggested the office will consider whether to appeal the ruling to a higher court.

    "We'll respond to the ruling in an appropriate manner after reviewing the details," he said.