Top Court Approves Retrial For Nursing Aide

Top court approves retrial for nursing aide

Japan's Supreme Court has approved a retrial for a former nursing assistant who was convicted of killing an elderly hospital patient by removing his artificial ventilator breathing tube.

The 72-year-old patient was found dead in 2003 at Koto Memorial Hospital in Shiga Prefecture, western Japan.

Mika Nishiyama, now 39, left prison in 2017 after serving a 12-year sentence.

Nishiyama filed her second request for a retrial in 2012.
The Osaka High Court gave its approval in December 2017, on grounds that the patient may have died of natural causes, such as heart failure. The judge said Nishiyama's confession is not credible enough to blame her for the patient's death.

Prosecutors appealed the decision, but the Supreme Court dismissed the request.

Nishiyama is likely to be cleared of all charges when the case is retried at the Otsu District Court.

Nishiyama and her lawyers held a news conference on Tuesday in Otsu City. She said she's had to endure much pain and suffering, but happy to be granted a retrial. She asked for support so that she'll be found innocent.

The head of her defense team, Kenichi Ido, said Nishiyama was deprived of freedom for more than 13 years and is still labeled a murderer, though the accusation is obviously false. He asked the prosecution to help establish Nishiyama's innocence as soon as possible.