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Exoneration of former nurse shows need for judicial reform

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A recent district court decision to exonerate a former assistant nurse who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 12 years in prison is a scathing indictment of the nation’s criminal justice system.

In a March 31 ruling, the Otsu District Court acquitted Mika Nishiyama, 40, who served her full sentence after being falsely accused of murdering a 72-year-old patient in 2003. The court said her confession was unreliable since it had been extracted through an illegal investigation.

The court also pointed out that the male patient at Koto Memorial Hospital in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, could have died from disease and his death had not even been verified as a homicide.

Nishiyama was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing the patient by weaning him from ventilator support at the hospital. On her second request, the Osaka High Court in December 2017 granted her a retrial and sent the case back to the district court.

The latest court decision has confirmed that the case against the defendant was a house built on........

© The Asahi Shimbun