Man found innocent of molesting charges by claiming he was pickpocketing
TOKYO – A man has denied touching a woman in a train for sexual reasons because he was “actually” trying to rob someone else.
According to the defendant’s testimony in Osaka District Court, he was riding a crowded train on the Osaka Loop Line at about 4 p.m. on April 9, when he attempted to steal something from the bag of another passenger in front of him.
However, just as he reached out, the train began to shake, causing his hand to collide with an adjacent woman, making contact around her midsection. She then reported him to the authorities, who charged the man with molesting.
During his trial, which concluded on Nov 15, Presiding Judge Arakane deemed that the man was innocent of molestation. He cited the reason for the ruling to be that the woman claimed in the police report that she was touched for 30 seconds, but during the trial, that had changed to three seconds.
Also, immediately after the touch occurred, the man apologized. Judge Arakane felt that the woman may have mistaken that for an admission of guilt, and was generally doubtful of her interpretation of the events that happened.
This is in spite of the prosecution’s claims that, although the defendant had continuously denied the molestation, they say he only claimed to be pickpocketing suddenly during the trial. This is because they believe he, at some point, learnt it had a leaner sentence.
In this molestation case, the prosecution was requesting a two-year prison sentence for violation of the nuisance prevention ordinance. On the other hand, a minor attempted theft conviction would likely result in a few months in prison or even simply a fine.
Readers of the verdict were surprised at how the law applied to these two crimes.
“Huh? What is this?”
“That guy just found a hell of a loophole.”
“Can’t anyone just say there were rubbing a woman looking for something to steal?”
“Seriously? Pickpocketing is a lighter crime than molesting?”
“Looks like this guy will have a nice holiday dinner in jail before going free.”
“If the punishment for pickpocketing were heavier I would have believed him.”
Whatever did happen on that afternoon, it is clear that the suspect was up to no good and preying on people either for their dignity or their property. The one thing we can learn from this is to pay careful attention to your sense of time. You never know when it will be used against you in a court of law.