Otsuka Misao and others

Between 16 February 1942 and 15 August 1945
Outram Road Gaol, Singapore
8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30 and 31 August, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 23 September, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10th October 1946
Case Summary

All the 44 defendants were involved in the running of the Military Section of Outram Road Gaol, Singapore, some were high ranking officers while most were regular guards. They were charged with the ill-treatment of Allied POWs and civilians who were in the Gaol resulting in many deaths during the entire period of the Japanese Occupation. Most were found guilty and given prison terms with some being sentenced to death. This case was heavily publicised at the time as the Gaol was infamous for its terrible living conditions and harsh treatment by the Japanese Guards.

The defendants were all charged with the neglect of the prisoners under their care resulting in the death of about thirteen British POWs, about four Dutch POWs and about twenty-two civilians, and physical suffering to many other British, Dutch and American POWs and civilians. Most were found guilty and some were sentenced to death by hanging.

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Outram Road Gaol was previously under the control of the Kempeitai but was handed over the the Japanese military as a military prison under the Southern Area Army and later, the 7th Area Army. At various points, the various prosecution witnesses spoke rather well of certain defendants and their acts of kindness in prison, this stands in contrast to the almost barbaric behaviour of the other defendants and poor living conditions.This is further reflected in the fact that not all the defendants were found guilty.

The trial was documented in the Straits Times but it  gives the number of defendants as 43 as the 17th defendant, Onishi Kunitaka had his charges postponed as he was too ill to stand trial.

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Though it has been observed that petitions against the sentence in such trials are usually not effective, the 5th defendant, Lieutenant Sugihara Kenji had his sentence of life imprisonment remitted by 10 years.

The 33rd defendant, Lance Corporal Hirose Yoshio was acquitted as the court found that there was a case of mistaken identity as he had never been posted to Singapore during World War II.

Some of the guards who were tried were Good Conduct Prisoners, Japanese military members who were imprisoned for breaches of military law but were able to act as guards as part of their sentence.