Queensland woman sentenced to three years’ jail after helping son flee Australia

A Queensland woman, 68, has been sentenced to three years’ jail for attempting to prevent the course of justice and giving false testimony after helping her son flee a pending trial in Australia.

The investigation found the woman deliberately misled judicial proceedings after her son failed to face court for cocaine importation and trafficking charges in 2015.

Police found she assisted her son in evading authorities by purchasing and preparing a yacht for him to flee on while he was on bail in 2015.

The woman told the Supreme Court in 2016 that she had not contacted her son for several weeks and that her son had taken his own life.

Property and cash totalling $395,000 (which was provided to secure his bail) was forfeited to the court following his disappearance.

The man was wanted by the AFP for his role in allegedly importing more than 71 kilograms of cocaine into Australia in 2011. A two-year international operation resulted in his arrest in the Philippines in September 2017.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) officers arrested the woman in Mackay on 28 July, 2019.

The woman was found guilty of giving false testimony and of attempting to prevent justice in Mackay District Court in November 2020 and sentenced to four years in jail in February 2021.

She successfully appealed her conviction in September 2021.

Following a retrial, the woman pleaded guilty to giving false testimony and of attempting to prevent justice in Queensland District Court yesterday (8 December 2022).

She was sentenced to three years in jail, to be released immediately with time already served.

AFP Detective Superintendent Helen Schneider said enabling an alleged criminal to flee Australia before they had faced court was a serious offence in its own right.

“The AFP is committed to ensuring alleged criminals are brought before the courts and will not tolerate anyone interfering in that process,” Detective Superintendent Schneider said.

“Anyone who deceives police to help an alleged criminal flee the country will find themselves facing justice as well.”

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