Well… Well.. Well.. I’m not totally shock by this ruling at all. I can’t believe the UK Judges will let her off so easily. What kind of messages are they trying to send??? If you’re UK citizens, it is okay to go smuggling drugs out of Laos and if you get caught, we will bail you out? Didn’t the UK singed an agreement with Laos that she will be serving the rest of her life back in UK? Now she will only be serving 18 months, what a joke!!!
I been a firmed backer of Laos laws against drug trafficking. If you get caught, you will be face with the firing squad. If you’re willing to take the risk, you should be handle the punishment. There are two reasons that save this chick life, she got herself pregnant and Laos is about to host the SEA Games. So, all eyes are on Laos and they took the safest route out. I still believe that if the international media didn’t get a hold of this story, she would already been dead by now. What a waste of UK tax payers money… I get so angry talking about this crack head…
Briton returned to UK after Laos drug sentence loses battle to be freed
UK judges reduce Samantha Orobator’s life sentence to minimum of 18 months
A British woman serving a jail sentence in the UK for drug smuggling after narrowly escaping a death sentence in Laos today lost her battle to be freed but had her original life sentence reduced.
But they reduced the life sentence she was given in Laos because it “bears more harshly” than one she would “almost certainly” have been given in the UK.
Lord Justice Dyson, sitting with Mr Justice Tugendhat, said Orobator should serve at least 18 months in prison.
She was returned to British custody under a treaty that agreed to enforce her life sentence for smuggling heroin.
However, there were mitigating factors, some “exceptional”, he said. These included threats and coercion which led her to carry the drug, her psychiatric condition and the “appalling” conditions during her custody in Laos.
An appropriate sentence would have been three years, and if she had received that in the UK, she would be freed under licence after 18 months. Orobator, who was then 19, was arrested in August 2008 as she tried to board a flight at Wattay airport, in Vientiane, and convicted of smuggling 680g (24oz) of the drug last June. She denied the drugs were hers.
Her lawyers applied to the high court for a judicial review of the decision by the Ministry of Justice not to release her from custody after her return to the UK under the 1984 Repatriation of Prisoners Act.
The court heard Orobator had originally faced the death penalty, but became pregnant in jail by “clandestine artificial insemination”. After her return to Britain, she gave birth to a baby girl. She is currently in Holloway prison, London.
Her QC, Edward Fitzgerald, said two Nigerian men had coerced her into carrying the drug by taking her passport and threatening to kill her if she refused to carry the heroin to Australia. “They further intimidated her by assaulting and raping her,” he said.
He added that her trial in Laos was a “flagrant denial of justice” and could be described as a show trial. Her lawyers argue she was never given any opportunity to raise duress in defence or mitigation.
The judges, dismissing the application, said: “We are in no doubt that, by the standards of our justice system, the claimant was treated unjustly in Laos.
“If she had been tried and convicted in that way in our courts, a complaint that her rights [to a fair trial] under article six of the European convention on human rights had been violated would surely have succeeded.”
But she could not satisfy the test that she had suffered “a flagrant denial” of justice in Laos, the judge said. “The test is rightly set very high. That is because it is important not to jeopardise or undermine the treaties for the repatriation of prisoners which the UK now has with many countries, so that those who are convicted abroad can serve their sentences here.”
If convicted persons “were easily able to obtain their liberty by challenging their convictions, there would be a grave danger that these important treaties would be set at nought,” he said. “That would be highly regrettable”.