Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk today informed Federal authorities that she has agreed to the proposed transfer of convicted heroin trafficker Holly Deane-Johns from Thailand to Australia.
In September 2006, Ms Quirk had refused to provide her consent to the transfer because, on the basis of the information provided at the time of the decision, factors such as Ms Deane-Johns’ lack of family support in Western Australia, her past prison record and the recidivist nature of her offending weighed against approving her transfer.
At the time of her refusal, Ms Quirk left open the possibility that the application would be re-considered if Ms Deane-Johns’ circumstances changed.
Since then, substantial additional information has been provided that Ms Deane-Johns’ health is seriously compromised in the Thai prison, a number of community members have volunteered to provide ongoing support and assist her in her rehabilitation and the prospect of a Royal Pardon in Thailand is now seen as remote.
“The original application for transfer was extremely deficient and it has only been through the efforts of people such as the Member for Perth, John Hyde that information about the nature of Ms Deane-Johns’ medical condition has been provided,” Ms Quirk said.
“In addition, I have only consented to the transfer after the Federal Government has agreed that Ms Deane-Johns serve five years imprisonment on her return with a further five years parole upon her release.
“The Federal Government had originally proposed that Ms Deane-Johns only serve a further three years and six months in prison. I firmly believe this was inconsistent with the need to meet the expectations of the Thai Government and the Australian community that Ms Deane-Johns serve a reasonable amount of the sentence imposed by the Thai Courts.
“Ms Deane-Johns needs medical care. While she is dealing with her health issues in Thailand, she is unable to fully reflect on her criminal behaviour. The medical care and support she needs to assist her to re-enter Australian society are not available in Thailand.
“Ms Deane-Johns has been in prison in Thailand since August 2000. This, combined with the proposed five years she will have to serve on her return to Australia, means that she will serve in excess of 12 years imprisonment.
“I think the message has been received loud and clear that consent to an international prisoner transfer is not a foregone conclusion. The plight of Ms Deane-Johns should continue to act as a strong deterrent to those minded to traffic drugs overseas.”
Under the ‘Administrative Arrangement between the Governor-General and the Governor of the State of Western Australia’, the WA Government will meet the cost of Ms Deane-Johns’ transfer to Australia and the ongoing cost of her incarceration in a WA prison. No costs will be met by the Federal Government despite Ms Deane-Johns being classified as a Federal prisoner.
Having obtained the consent of the State Minister, the Federal Government must now seek the consent of the Thai Government to Ms Deane-Johns’ transfer and its proposed terms and conditions under the International Transfer of Prisoners agreement.
Minister's office - 9213 7000