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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Press sees Blackman verdict as defeat
Media awaiting verdict in Blackman case
The case got heavy media coverage

Japanese dailies pore over the ruling in the Lucie Blackman case and are clear the acquittal of Joji Obara for her rape and murder is a serious setback for prosecutors.

Most papers see the lack of a confession or physical evidence as being crucial and point out that there was such evidence available in the nine other rapes Obara was convicted of.

YASUSHI HANDA IN SANKEI SHIMBUN

The reason [for the defendant's acquittal] can be explained only by how the court evaluated the lack of direct evidence, such as a confession or physical evidence... The ruling was a damaging defeat for the prosecution.

MAINICHI SHIMBUN

It is said that the [acquittal] was a clear reflection of the bitter struggle between the police and prosecution, which repeatedly had to issue arrest warrants for Obara for other charges in the course of investigation due to the lack of physical evidence or a confession...

The ruling given on the day without conclusive evidence proved to be a serious blow to the investigative authorities.

SANKEI SHIMBUN

The ruling gave the strong impression that establishing guilt by gathering circumstantial evidence without any physical evidence is difficult... Britain's distrust of the Japanese police will inevitably increase.

It is no exaggeration to say that the true worth of the Japanese police is being put to the test.

GO SUGITANI IN TOKYO SHIMBUN

There was a video recording of the rapes in the other nine cases, but there was no such video in Ms Blackman's case.

In the end, this fact was crucial... We cannot help feeling that the ruling itself was bound by the high hurdles imposed on the prosecution to provide proof, while the judge had a strong belief that the defendant "was guilty of concealing the corpse".

MAINICHI DAILY NEWS

As the details of the ruling were read out Obara leaned back in the defendant's seat, occasionally nodding...

An official from the Metropolitan Police Department, which was involved in the investigation, said: "We haven't received the details of the ruling yet so we're not in a position to comment on it, but at the time our investigation was sufficient."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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