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Report on the 9th High Court Appeal Hearing
Tokyo - April 19th 2005

Nick Baker's lengthy drug appeal process continued today at the Tokyo High Court.

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 ensued.

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.

Iris Baker

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