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Hayashi-san Sentenced to Death

April 21, 2009

The year was 1998, in Wakayama-ken. In Japan it was called the “Curry Incident”, where four people were killed eating poisoned curry. Hayashi-san was charged with murder, and had appealed all the way to the Japanese Supreme Court. Today in Japan, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, and sentenced her to death. Each newspaper reported the account differently.

Nikkei Defends the accused The Nikkei focused on the court proceedings, and how under the 3rd Petty Bench of the Supreme Court, all 5 judges ruled unanimously that Hayashi-san was guilty. The Nikkei claims “she insists she’s innocent, and her and her lawyer are applying for a retrial”. The most alarming part of the Nikkei article came at the end, stating “there is actually no direct evidence linking her to the crime. The focus is instead on circumstantial evidence.” This adds new meaning to the Japanese legal philosophy: guilty, until proven innocent.

Yomiuri Condemns the accused The Yomiuri’s headline ran “The Death Penalty has been decided.” It then goes on to describe the event as the “Tragedy that took place in the summer festival”. According to the Yomiuri, in 1998 at an outdoor festival held by the Wakayama City Park Service, someone emptied poison into the curry rice. 4 people died, and 61 people sustained injury from the poisoned rice. If you weren’t feeling bad for the guilty yet, they added that Hayashi-san was a “door to door insurance salesman.”

Asahi Also fights for her innocence The Asahi as well points to the fact that the evidence pointing to Hayashi-san is all circumstantial. It then gives a full account of the appeals process, how the smaller court in Wakayama had given her a guilty sentence, but both her and her lawyer had appealed to the Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court had ruled that she’s guilty, the Asahi does not give any examples of what the judges ruled, and instead closes their article with the arguments used to defend Hayashi-san. “The expert testimony in regards to arsenic poison cannot be trusted. The witness’s account of seeing Hayashi-san near the curry rice could have easily mistaken her for some other woman. And at any time, other people had access to the curry rice.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 21, 2009 10:22 pm

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

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