Prosecutors demanded on Tuesday a six-year prison term for actor Manabu Oshio, who is on trial for allegedly failing to call for medical help when a woman became seriously ill and died after taking the illegal drug MDMA, often known as Ecstasy, with him in August 2009.
Speaking in defense of the 32-year-old actor — the first celebrity to be tried under the lay judge system — Oshio’s lawyers stated he is not guilty because he performed first-aid measures and tried to save 30-year-old Kaori Tanaka’s life.
“I swear that I did not abandon Ms. Tanaka. I’m not that kind of person,” Oshio told the Tokyo District Court after he was given the opportunity to make a final statement before the trial closed.
Six lay judges — four men and two women — will deliberate Thursday with three trained professional judges and are to reach a verdict Friday. Should they find Oshio guilty, they will also hand down a sentence.
Oshio is charged with four counts — obtaining the MDMA, giving it to Tanaka, failing to take appropriate measures to save her life and leaving her to die, and possession of TFMPP, another illegal drug.
In their closing argument, prosecutors said Oshio failed to call for an ambulance immediately because he feared being caught with the illegal drugs. They called his actions “vicious” and “selfish.”
The prosecutors said Oshio, who admitted to obtaining the MDMA from an acquaintance, gave the drug to Tanaka before the two had sex at an apartment in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. They disputed Oshio’s claim that Tanaka only took drugs that she had brought with her.
The defense team, however, said Tanaka’s symptoms from the overdose grew worse in a matter of minutes, much faster than what the prosecution claimed. Determining that Tanaka wasn’t breathing and after failing to find a pulse, Oshio performed heart massage more than 10 times and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but she did not revive, they said.
Because Oshio has admitted to possessing MDMA and TFMPP, his lawyers said handing him a suspended 18-month prison term would be appropriate for those charges.
In a separate trial, Oshio was given a suspended prison term of one year and six month in November for using MDMA.
Prosecutors said they decided to seek six years based on the premise that the senctence from the previous ruling would be added to Oshio’s prison term.