Published: Wed, November 27, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Sydney grandmother walks free from Malaysian jail after drug conviction quashed

Sydney grandmother walks free from Malaysian jail after drug conviction quashed

AN Australian grandmother won her final appeal against a death sentence for trafficking in Malaysia today and walked free, after saying she fell for an online love scam and was tricked into transporting drugs.

Shafee said immigration authorities would hold Exposto in custody for a couple of days until her visa to Australia is approved.

She was convicted by the Court of Appeal previous year of having 1.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in her bag when she was arrested in December 2014 at Kuala Lumpur's global airport.

But last year's appeals court overturned the court's acquittal.

During her transit through Kuala Lumpur Airport, she mistakenly followed exiting passengers and volunteered the backpack to customs officers.

The compulsory death penalty for 11 offences in Malaysia - including drug trafficking, murder, treason and waging war against the King - is set to be abolished under the changes.

Asked what she would do first, Exposto laughed and said, "I'm going out to eat a steak and drink some wine because those five years I did not have any".

Upon arriving at Kuala Lumpur Airport, he accidentally crossed the wrong migration path, where he was caught in the presence of the drug in the bag.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, with her lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

"All I want to do is just take her home, take her away, and just catch her up on all the things she's missed", he said.

Her lawyer said he is now applying for her release and will fight plans to deport her. They hope she can fly home within two days once her documents have been processed.

A professor from the University of Melbourne specialising in cyber security had said during the grandmother's trial she was a "textbook romance scam victim".

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne welcomed the news, thanking the department's consular officers and Ms Exposto's legal team for securing her release. "He made me fall in love with him", she said.

After three years in prison, she was found not guilty of drug trafficking in December 2017, with the court accepting her argument that she had been unaware of the presence of drugs in her luggage. She received regular photos, videos and emails, which were in reality being sent by fraudsters.

Exposto said "Smith" had asked to marry her in September 2013 at a time when her relationship with her husband was getting "a bit sour".

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