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NICK BAKER CASE FILE
Case Update October 2005
Todays guilty verdict in the Tokyo High Court was a travesty of justice. We have all been left reeling with shock, disappointment and anger at the verdict.

Japan's justice system has failed dismally today. This was not an appeal it was a farce. From the time Nick was arrested he has been treated with utmost brutality and lack of respect by the authorities From the outset of Nick's trial and then appeal process, vital evidence was disregarded.

Nick's travelling companion Mr Prunier who duped Nick into carrying the suitcase through customs was a known to the US Federal Police and he was wanted by Interpol. Despite Nick's statement to police Prunier was allowed to stay in Japan for 3 days with no police investigation. Prunier was later arrested in Belgium for committing the same act again with another couple, the Belgium authorities released the innocent couple later.

The prosecution blocked all evidence being allowed from the Belgium authorities relating to Mr Prunier's involvement. The Belgium authorities used Nick's statement in there own investigation of Prunier and his movements and were keen to give this evidence of such that could prove Nick s innocence to the defence.

There were a number of other vital pieces of evidence to point towards Nick s innocence that were totally disregarded, the fact that the initial customs officers report, filed on the very day of Nick's arrest, neglected to even mention the critical question of the whereabouts of the key to Prunier's suitcase. It was only some three weeks later and exactly one day before Baker's indictment, that the very same customs officer, resubmitting the exact same report, added just a few lines in which he now claimed to have seen Nick throw the key into the case. The officer then changed his story again at the Chiba district court trial, now claiming he had "seen something fly through the air, but not Nick's hand throw anything as he was looking in the direction of the suitcase." Evidence from photographic expert examination of the inside of the suitcase seems also to dispel the officer's testimony by showing the key to be in fact enclosed in a tightly zipped shut net pouch within the suitcase. This would further suggest that the officer was either mistaken or had committed perjury at the Chiba District Court. If there is a likely hood that a key witness in this case committed perjury, it is indeed a very serious matter.

It is blatantly clear that Nick has not received a fair trial and that Japan has not complied with the International law of fair trials (ICCPR) to which it is treaty bound . Under article 14 of the ICCPR it states:

- Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

- In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

    (a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

    (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;

    (c) To be tried without undue delay;

    (d) To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it;

    (e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

    (f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

    (g) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt

In summing up today Judge Tao said, "The drugs were skillfully hidden, and it must be taken into account that their amount was extremely large," Judge Tao also said. "In addition, the defendant has not reflected sincerely on his acts."

It would seem beyond belief that Nick should have to show remorse to the courts for a crime he did not commit. The only crime committed was today's guilty verdict of an innocent man who's life has been turned upside down for the last 3 years, 6 months and 14 days. His Mother Iris has been left absolutely devastated after her courages fight and campaign to free her son It has been a very sad day in Japan today and we all pray Nick will have the strength to continue his fight against injustice.

Regards

Kath Talmage
J4NB Campaign
Member of FPSS
Member of AI Urgent Action Group

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All information is Copyright 1997 - 2005 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff
All information is Copyright 1997 - 2005 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff