Jury finds Japanese exchange student not guilty of improper treatment of newborn’s body

The Japanese exchange student gave birth in the bathroom of a Saanich home last fall and left the remains of the infant in a plastic bag in her bedroom.

  • Jul. 5, 2011 1:00 p.m.

A jury has found Narumi Bito not guilty of charges to related to the improper treatment of a newborn’s body.

The Japanese exchange student gave birth in the bathroom of a Saanich home last fall and left the remains of the infant in a plastic bag in her bedroom.

Bito was charged with disposing of her child’s body with the intent to conceal its birth, and offering an indignity to the remains.

A 12-person jury, made up of eight women and four men, came to a unanimous decision Tuesday morning and found Bito not guilty on both counts.

“Probably more than anything, she is exhausted right now and just wants to rest and start trying to put this behind her,” said defence lawyer Christopher Mackie. “It’s one thing to have gone through the incident itself, and now to have to relive it a second time has been quite taxing for her.”

Bito came to Canada last summer to attend the University of Victoria. Though she was pregnant when she arrived, she never got tested to confirm her suspicions. She also didn’t tell anyone that she might be pregnant.

The 21-year-old, through an interpreter, testified in Supreme Court that she gave birth in the bathroom in the middle of the night on Sept. 17. She said the baby appeared to be lifeless.

Bito wrapped the infant girl’s body in a plastic shopping bag and put it behind a chair in her bedroom.

Ten days later, the smell of decomposition attracted the curiosity of home-stay mother Gayle Floyd, who found the remains and notified police.

Bito hadn’t told anyone about what happened. Only after police got involved on Sept. 27, did others learn Bito had been pregnant and given birth.

Mackie says his client has been unable to go to school or work since her arrest. Her passport was confiscated.

After being found not-guilty of any crime, Bito now intends to return to Japan.

“I’m sure she’s anxious to get home,” Mackie said. “She seemed quite emotional … We’re quite elated at the result.”

B.C. Crown counsel spokesperson Neil Mackenzie said Crown respects the jury’s verdict, and it’s too early to speculate whether the decision will be appealed. He said the ability to appeal a jury’s verdict is “quite restrictive.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read