Mother charged in death of newborn testifies before jury

A 21-year-old Japanese exchange student who gave birth in the bathroom of a Saanich home before wrapping the newborn in a bag and leaving it in her bedroom testified Monday that she wasn’t confident she was pregnant.

A 21-year-old Japanese exchange student who gave birth in the bathroom of a Saanich home before wrapping the newborn in a bag and leaving it in her bedroom testified Monday that she wasn’t confident she was pregnant.

Narumi Bito, who was 20 when she was arrested in September after the body of the baby was discovered, said she had no plans to give up the baby, which she says was conceived in December with a former boyfriend.

“Why not drop out of school or make plans to become a mother?” defence lawyer Christopher Mackie asked.

“Because I wasn’t sure whether I was pregnant or not,” Bito replied, through a Japanese interpretor.

Mackie, addressing the 12-person jury charged with determining whether Bito is guilty of disposing of a body and offering indignity to human remains, said he anticipates her testimony will include her recounting the night in the bathroom of a homestay host when Bito gave birth  to a “fetus (that) showed no signs of life.”

Bito told the jury she first suspected she may be pregnant in June 2010, two months before she was set to fly to Canada to participate in an exchange program at the University of Victoria.

Though she had her suspicions, she didn’t think anything of it because she was administered a physical prior to leaving Japan.

Mackie asked Bito about life in Japan, where she said she was raised in a small countryside home, with her parents, two sisters and her father’s parents.

Bito testified she didn’t ever have an opportunity to confide in her family, friends or classmates, because people were too busy with their own lives, particularly when she suspected she may be pregnant.

She also explained that she didn’t want to share her suspicions with her family because she thought there would be repercussions.

“If I talked to my grandparents or my parents, then after talking to them I was thinking, despite the fact they had supported me financially, I thought I would be deceiving them or letting them down.”

Bito was expected to continue her testimony in Supreme Court Tuesday.