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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Japan jail man speaks out
Patrick Loughlin
Patrick Loughlin - four years in jail in Japan
A man who spent four years in a Japanese prison for a crime he says he did not commit will speak out against his conviction.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Patrick Loughlin, from Penley, near Wrexham, north Wales, will be supported by his mother Mrs Kathleen Loughlin and a friend Mike Hurst, who campaigned for his release.

Mr Loughlin was freed last week from Osaka Prison in Japan after serving his four-year sentence.

The 34-year-old had been working in Kariya, Japan for five years, as an English teacher. But on 31 October, 1999, an acquaintance of his - Mr Jinnai - died accidentally following a brawl in a local bar.

Mr Loughlin - the only foreigner in the bar at the time of the tragedy - was arrested for the death of his friend and was sentenced to four years imprisonment for "grievous bodily harm leading to death".

He has always maintained he was not responsible for the crime.

Mr Loughlin said that his Japanese lawyer - who, he said, did not speak English - entered a guilty plea on his behalf.

His appeal against the conviction was turned down in October 2001 by the Japanese Supreme Court.

The previous month his parents Robert and Kathleen Loughlin had been joined by their MP Martyn Jones in a meeting with Foreign Office Minister Baroness Amos to press his case.

The following year, 2002, Mr Jones, the MP for Clwyd South, had hoped to secure his release from jail in Japan through a European convention on prisoner transfers, allowing him to serve his remaining sentence in the UK, but this fell through.

Kathleen Loughlin
Kathleen Loughlin - determined campaign to free her son
The Foreign Office said that although Japan had committed itself to the convention but had not signed the necessary domestic legislation.

Among others campaigning for his release was Euro MP Glenys Kinnock who said when he was freed: "It is wonderful news for his friends and family who have campaigned so hard to get Patrick back to Wales.

"It has been an ordeal for his family and we can only be thankful that it is at an end."

Family reunion for freed prisoner
06 Sep 03  |  North East Wales
Release for Japan prisoner
04 Sep 03  |  North East Wales

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