DNA tests conducted by the Tokyo Supreme Public Prosecutors Office revealed that semen traces found at the scene of the crime did not match Govinda Prasad Mainali, the man serving a life sentence, paving the way for a retrial for a man who has consistently protested his innocence.
Govinda’s case has been controversial. He was initially acquitted by the Tokyo District Court in April 2000, but detained on a visa technicality rather than being freed, allowing prosecutors to appeal against the not guilty verdict.
The Tokyo High Court overturned the ruling in December 2000, finding Govinda guilty of murder and imposing a life sentence. The Supreme Court upheld that decision in November 2003.
Prosecutors had based their case against Govinda on circumstantial evidence as there was a dearth of physical evidence for them to use. In December 2005, Govinda’s lawyers as the Supreme Court to review the case and the top court ordered prosecutors conduct DNA tests on material evidence found at the scene of the crime. The tests revealed that DNA found at the scene belonged to a third person and not Govinda or his victim.