Aussie mum frustrated as Malaysia drug case delayed again
The case of an Australian woman facing a possible death sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia was postponed again Thursday, with a lawyer describing the defendant as frustrated with the repeated delays.
Sydney: The case of an Australian woman facing a possible death sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia was postponed again Thursday, with a lawyer describing the defendant as frustrated with the repeated delays.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, a 52-year-old mother of four, was arrested on December 7 after arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route from Shanghai to Melbourne, with a bag containing what authorities said was crystal methamphetamine, or "ice".
A chemist report on the substance was to be submitted to the court Thursday. If it confirms the substance was "ice" the case would then be elevated to a higher court, launching the death-penalty case.
But the court outside Kuala Lumpur was told that the chemical analysis, which has been repeatedly delayed, was still incomplete and that a new date for its submission was set for April 30, said defence lawyer Tania Scivetti.
"She is down and she wants the case to move fast so that she can go home," Scivetti said of his client, who declined to comment when leaving the court.
The defence team says Pinto Exposto travelled to Shanghai after falling for an online romance scam, and was then duped into carrying a bag -- which she believed contained only clothing -- by a stranger who asked her to take it to Melbourne.
Customs officers discovered 1.5 kilogrammes (3.3 pounds) of suspected "ice" hidden in the bag.
The defence is yet to enter a plea until the case reaches a higher court.
Drug-trafficking carries a mandatory sentence of death by hanging upon conviction in Malaysia.
Two Australians were hanged in 1986 for heroin trafficking -- the first Westerners executed in Malaysia -- in a case that strained bilateral relations.
But few death-row prisoners have been executed in the country in recent years.
After an 18-month legal battle, Dominic Bird, an Australian truck driver from Perth, was acquitted of drug trafficking in 2013. He had been arrested for alleged possession of 167 grams of crystal meth.