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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Judge rejects drugs man's appeal
Nick Baker
Baker was arrested after drugs were found in a bag he was carrying
A man jailed in Japan in 2003 for drugs offences has had his appeal rejected by a judge.

Nick Baker, of Stroud, Gloucs, was convicted after he was found with a case containing ecstasy and cocaine.

The 34-year-old had always claimed he was tricked into carrying the drugs by a man who subsequently killed himself on a railway track.

At a Japanese court on Thursday a judge upheld the guilty verdict but reduced his sentence from 14 to 11 years.

Poor quality

The judge also fined him 3m Yen (14,500).

His sentence was reduced because the judge said Baker was not the most important figure in the drug smuggling ring.

Baker's mother Iris, from Wiltshire has led a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of her son's case. She flew to Tokyo earlier this week to hear the result of the appeal.

Baker's previous hearing in January was attended by Sabine Zanker, a lawyer from the legal rights organisation, Fair Trials Abroad.

Ms Zanker said that the investigation period and Baker's original trial "had been a mistrial of justice" due to the poor quality of interpretation, the fact that he was made to sign documents he could not read and that he was told he would be freed if he signed.

Baker has always claimed the suitcase containing the drugs belonged to a man called James Prunier, who fled the airport when he was arrested.

Mr Prunier, also from Stroud, was later detained and was in Gloucester awaiting a trial in Belgium for similar offences when his body was found on a railway line in August.

A inquest jury returned a verdict of suicide.

Verdict due in Japan drugs appeal
24 Oct 05 |  Gloucestershire
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22 Feb 05 |  Gloucestershire
Train suicide for drugs case man
09 Feb 05 |  Gloucestershire
'Vital' drugs case man found dead
18 Aug 04 |  Gloucestershire
Drug charge appeal is adjourned
17 Jun 04 |  Gloucestershire

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