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Report on the 10th High Court Appeal Hearing.
Tokyo June 9th 2005 The "Magic Key" Theory

The excruciatingly long delays between court hearings that typify Japanese judicial procedure, have allowed defense council time to commission an independent report on photographs taken by customs officials on the day of Nick's arrest.

Tokyo High Court officials, in whose custody evidential articles are being retained, permitted the scanning of the original negatives of the suitcase by a digital imaging expert. The resulting data was then passed to a video expert for computer-enhancement. A reconstruction of the custom's photographs was also suggested. This reconstruction, using the original suitcase and its contents, was staged at the High Court at the end of May. (It is noteworthy that the prosecution obstructed the gathering of all the items to be used for the reconstruction, claiming that one item, a battery charger "...belonged to James.")

The expert witnesses' 6-page opinion also included a video and claims the photographs reveal what could be the strap of the suitcase key protruding from underneath other articles in a zipped-shut net pouch.

The significance of the location of the key pertains to the changing testimony of Customs Officer "K". The officer claimed, just before Nick's indictment, that he "might have seen Nick throw something" into the case. After indictment and at the district court hearing this changed to definitely saw the key fly into the case from Baker's direction." Finally, no mention appears of the key at all in the current appeal.

It is worth mentioning that in any drug-smuggling prosecution such as this - evidence that an accused had the key goes a long way towards proving that the case was under his control.

If indeed the photographs do show the location of the key to be inside a tightly zipped-shut section to the case, it would clearly have been impossible for Nick to throw it there - hence the magic key theory.

This would further suggest that officer "K" was either mistaken or had committed perjury at the Chiba District Court. If there is a likelyhood that a key witness in this case committed perjury, it is indeed a very serious matter, which - we are bound to say - demands the immediate dismissal of the case against Nick.

The 10th appeal hearing heralded the beginning of the end of the 3-year nightmare endured by Nick Baker as he draws nearer to learning his fate at the hands of the Tokyo High Court.

After a seven and a half week gap since his last appearance, today's sixteen minute hearing commenced with defense council Miyake requesting submission of new evidence. A gaunt and tired Baker, sat motionless as three new pieces of evidence were turned over to the judges:

First - a letter from Baker (translated into Japanese) clarifying certain aspects of his testimony about the trip with his traveling companion - named in the Chiba District Court verdict as a "habitual drug smuggler" - to the European cities of Amsterdam and Brussels.

Second - a video expert's report on the location of the key within the suitcase, which is claimed to refute testimony by a key witness at Baker's District Court Trial. (See right-hand sidebar)

Third - Two items originally contained in the suitcase, an electric razor - belonging to Baker, and a mobile phone charger - belonging to the now-deceased traveling companion. These items were used in a reconstruction of the suitcase interior and procedurally had to be submitted.

All three items were accepted by the court as evidence.

Miyake then requested Baker to take the stand and he responded to around a dozen questions about his current relationship with his partner and 3-year old son, George. He answered further enquires about the pending sale of the house that he shared with his common-law wife.

Questioning over, Judge Tao then set the timetable for Miyake's summing-up for July 21st at 13:50.

Link to today's press release from The Baroness Sarah Ludford.

Iris Baker

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