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Tokyo court finds man innocent of groping woman: ‘She possibly misidentified the perpetrator’

TOKYO (TR) – A court here has found a man innocent of groping a woman after doubt was raised about whether the victim correctly identified the perpetrator.

“It is credible that the woman was a victim [of groping], but she possibly misidentified the perpetrator,” said presiding judge Tomohide Murayama in acquitting the defendant at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday.

In November 2019, a man fondled the chest of the woman, aged in her 30s, inside the carriage of a Seibu Ikebukuro Line train in the capital.

The defendant, a company employee aged in his 40s, was indicted for violating a Tokyo Metropolitan public nuisance ordinance in March of 2020. Prosecutors had sought a fine of 300,000 yen.

During the trial, the defendant denied the allegations.

A woman was groped by a man in a Seibu Ikebukuro Line carriage in November 2019

“Kept an eye” on the defendant

In the ruling, the judge raised doubt about the woman’s testimony. She said “she kept an eye on” the defendant and grabbed his bag as they exited the train at Ikebukuro Station. However, she did not convey the same information to the police at the time of the incident.

“The defendant cannot be guilty because there is a possibility that she may have taken her eyes off the criminal in the rush to get off the train,” judge Murayama said.

“Kept an eye” on the defendant

The victim also said that the train was so crowded that she couldn’t move, which could have caused her to misjudge the height of the culprit, the judge said.

As well, photographs provided by the police that recreated the crime scene did not accurately show the height difference between the defendant and the victim, the judge said.

“There is room for questioning whether the defendant was the culprit,” judge Murayama concluded.