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Drug smuggling: UK judges offer sympathy but no aid for grandmother sentenced to death

The Government's decision to deny financial support to a British grandmother sentenced to death by firing squad in Bali has been declared lawful by UK judges, despite them expressing great sympathy at her plight, reports The Daily Mail.

Lindsay Sandiford was caught by police on the Indonesian island of Bali smuggling £1.6m-worth of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase through Bali's Denpasar airport.

Sandiford, 56, was surprisingly sentenced to death by firing squad by judges in Bali, despite the Government's prosecution lawyers recommending a maximum 15-year jail penalty.

She has been on death row in Bali since January and has been fighting a legal battle here in the UK to force the Government to fund a good lawyer to allow her to fight her sentence.

Yesterday three Court of Appeal judges delivered her a fresh blow, after they declared that the Government's decision not to fund her defence legal costs was a lawful one, despite expressing sympathy at her plight.

Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and Lords Justices Elias and Patten, agreed that the Government's policy never to fund the legal bills of citizens convicted of crimes abroad was a sound one, even if the result of that conviction was a death sentence.

In judgment Lord Dyson acknowledged that Sandiford had since raised the £8,000 required to take her case to Bali's Supreme Court and that the reasoning behind the decision would probably not be academic to her; however, he added that it was an important concept for other Britons who commit crimes abroad.

He added that the case was not to question whether the Government should change its policy to allow funding for citizens in certain limited circumstances, as to whether the current policy of not providing funding was illegal.

"It is whether the policy that he has produced is irrational. I am in no doubt that the policy is not irrational. It is based on reasoning which is coherent and which is neither arbitrary nor perverse," he said.


Judges express 'great sympathy' with British grandmother facing death sentence in Indonesia... but not enough to grant her funding for her judicial fight (The Daily Mail)