A court was not informed that DNA found on duct tape stuck to the head of a murdered 7-year-old girl did not belong to the man accused of killing her.

Instead of the physical evidence, the court relied on confessions the man, who pleaded innocent, was said to have made to police.

Takuya Katsumata was found guilty of murder in April 2016 under the citizen judge system and sentenced to life imprisonment.

His new team of lawyers are demanding that the unused DNA evidence be considered at a high court appeal.

The DNA analysis results were revealed by prosecutors before the district court trial but lawyers defending Katsumata did not ask they be introduced as evidence, according to a new team of lawyers assembled for the appeal.

The neglected evidence shows that one DNA found on the adhesive tape that was attached to the head of the girl was neither that of the defendant or police officers involved in the investigation, but instead that of one other individual.

The DNA evidence was found almost two years before the case went to trial in February 2016. It was made available by prosecutors in September 2014.

Read more