Criminal law: Case of British drugs trafficker facing the death penalty in Indonesia is called for review

Criminal law: Case of British drugs trafficker facing the death penalty in Indonesia is called for review

The UK Supreme Court has urged the secretary of state to urgently review the case of Lindsay Sandiford, a British grandmother arrested for drug smuggling in Indonesia, reports the BBC.

A 57-year-old grandmother, Lindsay Sandiford was caught smuggling a vast quantity of cocaine into Bali when she landed on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2012. The value of the drugs she was carrying was estimated to be an astonishing £1.6 million.

Facing the maximum penalty for her crime, Mrs Sandiford has been issued with the death penalty and will be killed by a firing squad unless the British Government manages to intervene by providing her with a lawyer to present her appeal case to the local courts.

In her defence, Mrs Sandiford professes that she was under duress. She claims that the safety of her children was threatened, driving her to obey the orders and carry out the crime.

Following government policy not to fund the legal fees of British nationals who commit crimes abroad, the High Court and the Court of Appeal rejected Mrs Sandiford’s case and the Supreme Court respected and upheld this ruling. However, the five judges of the Supreme Court did find the case to be of great cause for concern given the Indonesian courts’ disregard for certain factors in Mrs Sandiford’s case and have urged the secretary of state to review the policy on her behalf.

Not only are there significant disparities between Mrs Sandiford’s sentence and those of the people she was working with, but she also had a number of mitigating circumstances including no previous criminal record.

The secretary of state is restricted by an incredibly tight deadline as papers to reopen her case in Indonesia must be filed by 29 August. According to the Supreme Court, Sandiford “now requires a substantial sum to pay for the legal assistant [to begin a] clemency petition to the President of Indonesia,” reports the BBC.

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