Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford loses appeal for UK government to fund death row legal challenge, faces death by firing squad

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office refused to fund 56-year-old’s case as a matter of Government policy

Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal over a UK Government refusal to fund her legal challenge against a death sentence imposed on Indonesia
Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal over a UK Government refusal to fund her legal challenge against a death sentence imposed on Indonesia

A British woman sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling drugs into Bali lost her appeal today over the Government's refusal to fund her legal challenge in Indonesia.

Lindsay Sandiford recently lost her first appeal against sentence before the Bali High Court and now wants to take her case to the Supreme Court but says she has run out of funds.

 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said that, while it strongly opposes the death penalty and has made repeated representations on behalf of Sandiford, it will not pay for a lawyer.

 

The 56-year-old was caught attempting to smuggle £1.6 million of cocaine into Bali. She insisted that she had only agreed to bring in a parcel because she was trying to protect her adult sons, one of whom had been threatened by a drugs gang who suspected him of being a police informant.

 

On Sunday, she put out a statement, admitting she had been stupid and was "totally humiliated". While she extended her gratitude to people who had raised money on her behalf, she said she needed a further £6,000 to cover the £8,000 cost of legal representation at the Supreme Court.

 

At the end of January, UK High Court judges upheld the Government refusal to fund her, saying the court understood "the deep concerns of Mrs Sandiford and her family about Mrs Sandiford's predicament" but her case must be dismissed.

 

And today three senior judges headed by Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, also dismissed her challenge in the Court of Appeal.

 

Lord Dyson, sitting with two other judges, said the court had given "very careful consideration" to the issues raised in what he described as a "troubling" case.

 

He said the reasons for the judgment would be given "as soon as possible". Lord Dyson, when announcing the decision to dismiss the appeal, said it was "obviously a terribly serious matter".

 

He said it was "most unfortunate" that the sum required to secure the representation sought by the appellant - roughly £6,000 - was "relatively speaking" a "very small sum indeed".

 

The judge added: "But that cannot affect the principle that we have had to consider and it cannot affect our decision.

 

"But it may be that other means may be found to secure the relatively small sum in the course of the next few days."

 

Rosa Curling, a solicitor with law firm Leigh Day, which is representing Sandiford, said outside court: "We are obviously very disappointed by the decision and we will consider with our client once we have received the reasoning of the court whether to appeal to the Supreme Court."

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