The verdict is finally in on Oshio Manabu (32). At the Tokyo District Court yesterday, the “former” actor was handed a 30-month prison sentence for negligence resulting in the death of Ginza hostess Tanaka Kaori last year. Prosecutors had sought a 6-year prison term, insisting that Tanaka could have been saved if medical help had been sought soon after she passed out from taking MDMA (Ecstasy). Some experts had expected Oshio to get 6 years or longer due to his continued refusal to accept his guilt. His lawyers insisted that Tanaka died within minutes of becoming unconscious and couldn’t have been helped, asking for a suspended sentence. In handing down his verdict, the judge said that Oshio had been found guilty of negligence but that there was a question about whether this was directly responsible for Tanaka’s death.
Among the witnesses who appeared in court were Tanaka’s parents and the friend of Oshio who supplied him with the drugs. The trial was the first celebrity case to be decided by a jury of lay judges. At a press conference afterward, Oshio’s lawyers said that he had trouble understanding some of the verdict as it was read out. “Do I have to go to prison? Or is it a suspended sentence?” he is said to have asked them. He has decided to file an appeal.