Jury sequestered to determine fate of exchange student

Narumi Bito’s future in Canada is now in the hands of a jury.

Narumi Bito’s future in Canada is now in the hands of a jury.

They are tasked with determining whether the Japanese exchange student is guilty of disposing of her child’s body with the intent to conceal its birth, and offering an indignity to the remains.

The eight-woman, four-man jury began deliberations Monday after Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen “charged” them with their duties and how they relate to Bito’s criminal trial.

Bito, 21, came to Canada last summer to attend the University of Victoria and was seven months pregnant. Despite having missed her period for months, she claimed to not have been sure she was carrying a child.

During the two-week trial, Bito testified that she didn’t tell anybody about her pregnancy suspicions or, after Sept. 17, that she had given birth, because she didn’t want to trouble anyone or cause them to worry.

The baby was delivered while Bito sat on the toilet in a Saanich home-stay’s bathroom in the middle of the night. Defence lawyers argued the baby wasn’t moving or making noise when it was born.

Bito wrapped the remains in a plastic bag and left it behind a chair in her bedroom. The bag and its contents were discovered 10 days later by the home-stay mother when a foul odour was noticed coming from Bito’s room.

On Monday Cullen explained to the jurors that his role is only to guide them by explaining the legal procedures and applicable laws.

“You, not I, decide what happened in this case,” he said. “Your job, as judge of the facts, is to decide what are the facts in this trial.”

He explained the jurors must use their judgment in deciding how much weight to give each witness’ testimony. As well, how much to believe from each witness.

The jury will remain sequestered until it has reached a verdict on the charges against Bito.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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