British woman acquitted of drug smuggling charge
December, 16, 2010
TOKYO —

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The Tokyo High Court has overturned a lower court ruling against a 31-year-old British woman, acquitting her of smuggling into Japan an illegal drug from Malaysia in 2008. The ruling is expected to stand as prosecutors are not planning to file an appeal, sources familiar with the matter said.

The woman was arrested in November 2008 for allegedly bringing in around 1.4 kilograms of a stimulant drug hidden in her luggage at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo.

The focal point was whether the woman was aware that the drug was kept in the bottom of the suitcase that was given to her by an acquaintance. The woman has denied the allegation.

The Chiba District Court rejected the woman’s argument in a ruling given in February, which sentenced her to eight years in prison and to pay a 4 million yen fine.

The high court ruled that ‘‘there is reasonable doubt she was aware of the stimulant drug,’’ noting that the suitcase was given to her just before her departure and she could not confirm what was inside after she was told it was clothing.