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American man innocent of marijuana possession due to assault by officer

TOKYO (TR) – A court here last week found an American man innocent of possessing marijuana in a ruling that said the arresting officer unlawfully assaulted the defendant, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Mar. 18).

At the Tokyo District Court on March 18, presiding judge Eiichi Fukano found the defendant, 27, innocent of possessing 0.2 grams of marijuana in Shibuya Ward in November, 2018 since the amount was obtained during an “unlawful collection of evidence.”

The prosecution had sought a 30-month term.

According to the ruling, security camera footage showed the officer shoving the defendant up against a wall during voluntary questioning. “Don’t touch me,” the defendant repeatedly said at one point.

During the trial, the officer justified his actions by saying the behavior of the defendant was unpredictable while adding, “I cannot understand English at all.”

However, judge Fukano did not acknowledge the claim, saying, “It is unlikely that you cannot understand simple English.”

Judge Fukano added, “The use of tangible force in an arrest clearly exceeds the limits of voluntary questioning.”