Japan's top court sends back 1966 murder case

Japan's Supreme Court has canceled a high court's decision not to grant a retrial to a man over a 1966 murder case. The top court ordered the high court to re-examine the case.

Hakamada Iwao's death sentence over the killing of four members of a family in Shizuoka City was finalized in 1980. He pleaded innocent and filed for a retrial.

In 2014, the Shizuoka District Court decided to grant a retrial based on DNA evidence submitted by the defense.

The district court ordered Hakamada's release after 48 years in detention. Prosecutors appealed the ruling.

In 2018, the Tokyo High Court rejected a retrial. The court said the DNA findings could not be trusted, and concluded there was no reason to doubt the guilty verdict. The defense appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has canceled the high court's decision, and ordered it to hold hearings again.

Hakamada has not been detained since the 2014 district court ruling.