Singapore Cases - Details of Trial Records


Compiled by Stephanie Beckman, Intern
U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center

Singapore Cases: No. 235/967
Hyodo Case

Accused: (1) Sgt. Maj. HYODO Toshiyuki
(2) Sgt. Maj. MAEYAMA Kunio
(3) Sgt. KAWANO Senichi
of the Imperial Japanese Army

Place and Date of Trial: Singapore, 10-13, 17 Feb 47

Finding and Sentence: Accused 1 - Guilty with exception- 10 years imprisonment
Accused 2 - Guilty with exception- 6 years imprisonment
Accused 3 - Not guilty - Acquitted
Exception: Guilty with exception of the words "Hardial Singh".
There is no printed finding and sentence that exists.

Charge: Committing a War Crime in that they at Oxley Rise, Singapore, between the
19th December 1942 and the 31st February 1943, while being members of the Kempei Tai Detachment at Oxley Rise aforesaid, were, in violation of the laws and usages of war, concerned in the ill-treatment of Mohammed bin Mohammed Salleh, Koy Boon, and Hardial Singh, civilian residents of Singapore aforesaid which ill-treatment resulted in the death of the said Koy Boon.

Facts relating to the charge: The accused were members of the Kempeitai Detachment at Oxley Rise, Singapore, where they were concerned in M.P. duties. The first accused belonged to the Judicial Section, which dealt with interrogations of communists and similar suspects. The second was engaged in office work.
Mohd Salleh, one of the persons mentioned in the charge, gave evidence to the effect that he was ill-treated by both accused during his enforced stay at Kempeitai H.Q. and was subjected to several forms of torture. He was very definite in his testimony.
There were two witnesses regarding the incident, which resulted in the ultimate death of Koy Boon, another person named in the charge. One of these witnesses went back on his statement and the court allowed him to be treated as hostile. His evidence then showed that both accused were concerned in the burning of Koy Boon. Circumstantial evidence as to the burning was also furnished by two other witnesses.

Accused handling of the charge: Regarding Mohd Salleh, the defence admitted ill-treatment by the first accused but asserted that the prosecution had grossly exaggerated its gravity. For the second accused it was said that as he was not an interrogator he was in no position to have ill-treated Salleh.
The defence denied that either accused was concerned in the burning of Koy Boon. The first accused was only a witness from a window about 30 yards away and the second was in Ipoh at the time. Evidence was adduced on these points but was not sufficiently conclusive to convince the court of its accuracy.

Main issues of the case raised by prosecution and defense:

1) Evidence
The defence argued its case according to the evidence presented to the court. With regards to the ill-treatment of Salleh, they reported that Accused 1 confessed to having struck Salleh - some two of three times on his back with the open hand, and making him carry out the rather futile performance of carrying a chair about the room; as well as applying the electrical shocking coil. The defence argued that all this ill-treatment was harmless enough in all conscience, and was not severe enough to amount to criminality. They argued that the evidence by the victim was extremely liable to be exaggerated, and hence untrustworthy.
With regards to Accused 2, the defence argued that since accused 2 was never concerned with the interrogation of suspects; he had no chance of ill-treating anyone. Also, the witness Hardial Singh had never identified accused 2 before the court. Mr. Singh was interrogated by the Anti-Espionage Department and not by any member of the Judicial Section to which Accused 2 belonged as a sort of supernumerary only.
Regarding the incident involving KoyBoon Hassan, there was contradictory evidence presented and the defence argued that Accused 2 was not present at the time of the burning, and hence never even witnessed it.
The defence felt that the production by the Prosecution of such contumacious, nondescript and outrageously prevaricating, if picturesque characters like Hassan B.M. as witnesses damaged the dignity of the Honourable Military Court. They argued that surely when a man's life was at stake the Prosecution would be responsible for better proving such grave charges by calling some more obviously reliable and "uncoached" witness, if indeed they were available.
Regarding the incident in the garden involving KoyBoon, the defence argued that it was impossible to get a view of the garden having regard to the fact that the present covered corridor existed at the time of this incident, plus the provision of hanging bamboo screens to keep away prying eyes from Kempeitai activities. They argued that on the face of it, it was neither logical nor likely that such summary interrogation would have one on in the broad light of day in full view of a public road. They argued that as to whether KoyBoon died from burns or heart failure was not a concern to them, as they were here to determine what part, if any, either or both of the accused played in the matter.

The defence argued that accused 1 saw part of the sickening proceedings through a window. Accused 2 left Singapore on the 15th of Jan and a few days prior to that was engaged in necessary preparations for his posting, which precluded the possibility of his participating in this affair which H. Singh said occurred between 14th and 15th and another witness said occurred between 15th and 18th January. It was obvious to the defence that the only reason witnesses Hassan and Savisany referred to both accused was they knew no one else well enough to name them as categorically as a Court requires. On the question of identity, the defence argued that the two chief witnesses Hardial Singh and Isaac who admittedly saw most of the incident and the victim both failed to identify either one of the accused arranged before this honourable military court. Hence their witness accounts were questionable and not to be fully trusted.

In conclusion, the defence argued that for Accused 1, the defence submitted with deference that the Court must decide the amount of criminal culpability in his firstly, having resorted to what right be called "Token 3rd Degree" and secondly, his having been an inadvertent and unwilling witness of the gravest incident of the charge against him. The defence felt that all the indications from his nature, character, reputation and actual behaviour as brought out in the evidence before the Court, showed that he was physically, morally and temperamentally incapable of committing any such atrocity as implied in the charges and the case for the Prosecution.

The prosecution argued according to evidence as well. To substantiate the charges against the accused and prosecution had produced eight witnesses, of which three were the victims of the alleged maltreatment. They reminded the court of the demeanour of the prosecution witnesses when in the box and stressed that all the witnesses except one were clear and certain of their facts and when asked by the prosecution or defence made correct identifications. They admitted that there were discrepancies in prosecution evidence but they were on very minor points and in assessing them, the prosecution submitted that one must take into account that four years had elapsed since the incidents occurred.
The prosecution was unable to throw any light on the motive for Hassan to turn hostile in court, but they argued that nevertheless he was an extremely important witness. He was the one who witnessed the incident from the road behind the boundary wall; he could see through the corridor which was not covered on the side; he identified the accused 1 and 2; he saw both the accused bring KoyBoon to the place of the incident and saw them burn and assist in burning the victims.
The prosecution argued that the evidence was unassailable when it came to the criminal ill-treatment of Mohammad bin Mohammad Salleh by Accused 1 and 2. Salleh, who had given the story of his tortures in full and without contradiction, readily identified both the accused. As for Hardial Singh, there was no doubt that he was ill-treated but the question as to who ill-treated him was not answered.
As for the torture applied to KoyBoon, the evidence of Isaacs and Hardial Singh proved to a certainty, facts concerning the burning that took place. KoyBoon was said to have been in healthy condition when arrested, and brought back to his cell after being taken away with burns all over his body. The prosecution argued that he as a result of burning died in the same cell after 4 or 5 days. Evidence of Sivasamy and Hassan also support the evidence regarding the burning incident, and their evidence correlates with the statements of Accused 1. This all left no doubt that both the accused did some overt act which resulted in burning KoyBoon causing his death.

The prosecution refuted the following points argued by the defence:
In dealing with the ill-treatment of KoyBoon the defence argued:
(i) That the accused 1 watched the incident form a window and was not present on the spot.
The prosecution argued that accused 1 told a different story to the court from the witness box than what he gave in his sworn statement to the investigating officer on 14th Feb 1945. He stated that he was present on the spot though he did not take any active part. The prosecution submitted that there was strong evidence in support that he was present on the scene of occurrence and that he did burn KoyBoon.
(ii) That accused 2 had been transferred to Ipoh and did not participate in the burning of KoyBoon.
The prosecution argued that the burden of convincingly proving that accused 2 had departed from IPOH lay on the defence and submitted that it had not been proved. The date of departure of Ipoh party was not certain though it was said to have been immediately after a fire. The defence witnesses had stated that they think that it was in the middle of January.
(iii) That the view of the scene of incident was obstructed by the corridor connecting the two main buildings, and the witnesses Hassan and Sivasamy could not have seen KoyBoon been burnt.
The prosecution argued that it was admitted that the corridor was the same as existed on the date of occurrence. They said that Kosai's statement, that there was a bamboo blind on one side of the corridor was absolutely false. None of the other witnesses of the Defence suggested this. The prosecution witness Hassan stated that there was no partition at all. Sivasamy watched the scene from near the kitchen and there then existed no blind of any kind.

D.J.A.G.'s review: The D.J.A.G. admitted that on the whole, though the evidence presented was in some respects weak, it supported the findings and he advised confirmation of the findings and sentences. This case was an example of the importance of evidence in presenting a case, and how evidence could be argued by both sides. The accused 3 was not mentioned in the main issues and arguments in the closing addresses, as he was acquitted and there probably was not enough evidence to argue a case for or against him.


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