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Non-prosecution of ex-Osaka sergeant over gang rape ‘unjust,’ commission finds

Former officer Yu Mizobata
A commission has found the non-prosecution of former officer Yu Mizobata in the gang-rape of a woman to be “unjust”

OSAKA (TR) – The non-prosecution of a former police sergeant involved in allegedly confining and gang-raping a woman with four accomplices two years ago was unjust, the Prosecution Review Commission ruled on Saturday.

The Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office decided not to prosecute the five men, including Yu Mizobata, 34, the former police officer, due to lack of evidence in the case where the officer confined the female acquaintance in her 20s at a hotel and gang-raped her with his four accomplices, NHK reports (Jan. 21).

The former police sergeant solicited accomplices, including a 33-year-old officer he knew, for the gang rape, which took place in December of 2014, on a message board beforehand, investigators had found.

“There was consent” because her resistance weakened

The men argued in court that “there was consent” because the woman’s resistance weakened during the gang rape, the Sankei Shimbun reported in June 2016.

The woman’s lawyer told a press conference, “[She was] blind-folded and suddenly violated while her hands were bound. For there to be consent is inconceivable. If this [case] goes unchallenged, then sex crimes would become rampant.”

Asserting that the “non-prosecution is unjust,” the woman referred the case to the Prosecution Review Commission.

“Selfish beyond reasonable doubt”

The commission found that the suspects “restrained the woman’s hands and rendered her unable to escape, even if she wanted to,” adding the former officer “thought that he could easily gain consent from the woman if he took her there.”

“This is selfish beyond reasonable doubt, and non-prosecution is unjust,” the commission said.

The commission ruled that the decision not to prosecute the man’s four accomplices was valid, claiming that “[the decision] cannot be said to be irrational, assuming [the suspects] believed consent from the woman was given based [on the post] on the message board.”

Public prosecutors in Japan have authority to prosecute suspects, but a victim dissatisfied with decisions can request the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, popularly known as the Prosecution Review Commission, to review the case.

Lawyers are then appointed by a court to prosecute such suspects, but defendants are acquitted in some cases.