Tokyo - April 19th 2005
Nick Baker's lengthy drug appeal process continued today at the Tokyo High
The session was marked by the unusually late appearance of court officials
and both the prosecution and defense council. Although Baker appeared in
court at the prescribed time, he was left to contemplate the forthcoming
hearing in a hushed courtroom awaiting the appearance of the Judges. Baker
spent around 5 minutes sitting motionless with his eyes closed between two
guards, perhaps curious as to the reason for the delay. The freshly-shaven
Baker appeared healthy, wearing the now familiar dark suit and light-green
shirt and wire-rimmed spectacles.
A court stenographer was left to explain to guards of the delay, and soon
thereafter the court clerk and translator entered together, promptly
followed by defense council Miyake and prosecution. The Judges entry
The new financial year (beginning April 1st in Japan) often portends the
circulation of both company and government officials, and this was evident
in the appearance of both a new judge and prosecutor.
Presiding judge Tao begin the session with the necessary preliminaries of
introducing his new colleague and outlined the day's schedule.
He then began by requesting Baker to take the stand and proceeded to frame
almost 30 detailed questions pertaining mainly to events surrounding the
meeting with Prunier's alleged partners in crime in Holland; the contents
of the suitcase in question and also check-in procedures at Brussels
airport. Questioning was then turned-over to the new judge, who having had
clearly familiarized himself with the case, focused on the stay in
Amsterdam and Baker's handling of a broken after-shave bottle. Judge Tao
then turned to his 3rd bench colleague, who shrugged-off any intention to
ask questions of the defendant.
Forty-five minutes into the hearing the new prosecutor took the floor, and
asked of Baker another 30 or so questions. Both the bench and prosecutor
intentions merely seemed content with confirming aspects of Baker's
previous courtroom testimony.
With time running short Defense council's questioning was deferred until
the next session which was set for June 9th.
Overall two of the judge remained interested and animated and unusually
for a high court session the bench permitted the introduction of new
evidence in the form of reconstruction the initial customs photograph with
which the defense intends to discredit the testimony of customs officials
regarding the location of the suitcase key.