By Steven Thompson
Today, in closing arguments, lawyers for the defense railed against the prosecution case citing example after example of how the prosecution failed to prove any allegation of assault against the dolphin trainer. No photo, video or witnesses provide evidence to link Erwin Vermeulen to any violence of any kind.
1. A key defense witness testified that Erwin had his hands full with a long-lens camera in his left hand and a walkie-talkie in his right. So, pushing of any sort could not have been done with his hands as the prosecutor claimed.
2. No DNA evidence was found on the alleged victim's jacket.
3. No bruise or scratch was apparent on the victim's body.
In closing arguments, the lawyer for the prosecution started to back-pedal. No longer asking for a prison sentence, they humbly ask that Erwin be fined 100,000 yen (approx. 1,276usd). It is starting to look like the Taiji police officer in charge of the arrest may be thinking about a career change.
The verdict will be announced on February 22nd. Please join me: let's envision justice for Erwin and the dolphins. Set Erwin free to enjoy his last few days in Japan before his visa runs out. Let the dolphin hunters and trainers know that we will not go away.
However, don't hold your breath for Erwin being found innocent...a country that can imprison an obviously innocent person for 72 days, could come up with anything.