An Australian woman serving a 23-year prison sentence for drug smuggling has returned home after the Court of Appeal decided she was innocent and was the victim of an internet love scam.
Touch Tharith, spokesman for the Court of Appeal, yesterday said that Yoshe Ann Taylor, 46, was freed last week after the court acquitted her of drug smuggling on April 19. Ms Taylor was in prison for six years since her arrest in 2013.
“She was released from prison last week after the Court of Appeal decided to acquit her of drug smuggling,” Mr Tharith said. “She was freed because documents and evidence provided by police and her lawyer to the Appeal Court clarified that she was not involved in drug smuggling.”
“So the judges reviewed this and decided to acquit her,” he added.
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So Sosseny, Ms Taylor’s lawyer, said his client left Cambodia on Wednesday.
“I think that our justice system has provided her with justice,” Mr Sosseny said, adding that his client claimed she was innocent since her arrest in 2013.
Mr Sosseny noted that the Supreme Court in 2018 had rejected an appeal made in 2016, adding that the case was subsequently remitted to the Court of Appeal.
“She was freed because the court decided she was a victim who was cheated by drug smugglers,” Mr Sosseny said.
Lieutenant General Nouth Savna, spokesman of Interior Ministry’s General Prison Department, confirmed that Ms Taylor left prison last week.
The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported that Ms Taylor had landed in Australia yesterday morning to reunite with her two children, who she had not spoken to in five years.
In 2013, Ms Taylor was among three foreigners convicted of attempting to smuggle more than two kilograms of heroin from Cambodia to Australia, along with Precious Chneme Nwoko, a Nigerian national, and Charlene Savarino, a French national.
The three were arrested on September 18 that year when they tried to smuggle the drugs in bags through Phnom Penh International Airport. They were convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on May 24, 2014.
Mr Nwoko, who was convicted of drug trafficking, is still serving time in prison. He was sentenced to 27 years. Ms Savarino is also still serving 25 years in prison.