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SOCIETY > Human Rights

Top court to judge on unwarranted police investigation using GPS

  • October 5, 2016
  • , Kyodo News , 8:20 p.m.
  • English Press

A Supreme Court petty bench said Wednesday it has sent to the top court’s Grand Bench a case in which the legality of unwarranted use by police of the global positioning system in their investigation is at issue.


The 15-member Grand Branch, which examines crucial cases such as those involving constitutionality, is expected to present the top court’s unified view for the first time on whether such police action is legal.


Lower courts, in their rulings, have issued differing opinions about the legality of such an investigation.


The Grand Bench will now examine the case of a 45-year-old man convicted of stealing cars and other items mainly in western Japan in 2012 and 2013.


During the investigation, police departments in five prefectures — Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nagasaki and Kumamoto — installed GPS devices in 19 cars, including the defendant’s, without obtaining warrants.


The Osaka District Court judged last year that the police use of the GPS terminal without a warrant was illegal and excluded from evidence information gathered in the warrantless investigation, while nevertheless handing down a sentence of five and a half years in prison.


In March, the Osaka High Court rejected the defendant’s appeal, without referring to whether police needed warrants to conduct the GPS investigation.

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