Australian mother granted bail in Malaysia after being cleared of drug trafficking

13-Jan-2018 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A 54-year-old Australian woman has been released on bail in Malaysia after avoiding the death penalty late last year.

Sydney mother-of-four Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, who remained in custody despite being cleared of trafficking charges, was granted bail by a Malaysian court on Thursday.

She was caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route from Shanghai to Melbourne in 2014.

After three years in prison, she was found not guilty of drug trafficking last month, with Judge Dato Ghazali finding Ms Exposto was duped into carrying the drugs in a romance scam.

“The court believes the testimony of Maria in that she was an innocent carrier,” Ms Exposto’s lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah said.

“She was tricked into carrying the bag because of what we now call the internet scam, internet romance.”

But Ms Exposto remained in detention after last month’s verdict as the prosecutor planned to file an appeal.

Ms Exposto’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said her travel documents and passport would be surrendered as a condition of the 30 thousand ringgit ($9,552) bail agreement.

“She has to give her permanent address while she is in Malaysia for the next one or two months and that address shall be reported to the court,” he said.

“And she will do a weekly report to the nearest police station from 8:00am to 5:00pm.”

The case will come before the court again on February 20, Abdullah said, before an appeal hearing date is set.

He described her continued detention after her acquittal as “against the concept of liberty”.


Category: Malaysia

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