SARAWAKIAN Beatrice Laus Johie, who is accused of importing a marketable quantity of heroin into Australia, will get to give her plea on Monday.
In case you don’t remember, Australian customs found about 1.5kg of heroin in her luggage when she arrived at Melbourne Airport on November 6.
The nurse from Kampung Seratau, Siburan has been held at a women’s prison in Deer Park, about 30km west of Melbourne.
The Dame Phyllis Frost Centre is a maximum security prison, but it also has medium security units, which can house 10 prisoners in separate units and minimum security units, which house only five prisoners.
Each unit has individual kitchen and dining facilities and prisoners are required to cook and prepare their own meals and do their own washing, ironing and housework. Groups of prisoners share activity areas, and a quiet area for reading and writing.
I hope life for Beatrice in the last few months has been as idyllic as the description in the prison’s profile.
It is also good to learn that none of the fingerprints found on the package containing the drugs belonged to her.
According to what she told Malaysian Consul-General in Melbourne Dr Mohd Rameez Yahaya, her luggage was packed by her then Nigerian boyfriend, who hurried her to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to catch an AirAsia flight to Melbourne.
She apparently took leave from her job in Kuching after the 21-year-old Nigerian student asked her to go to Kuala Lumpur for a few days.
When she arrived in Kuala Lumpur, she was apparently told they were going to Australia for a holiday.
On the day of departure, however, her then boyfriend claimed he had problems with his visa and could not accompany her to Melbourne and asked her to go ahead.
She said she was shocked and devastated when Australian Customs found the heroin.
“I had no idea it was in my luggage,” she is reported as saying.
Hopefully the fact that her fingerprints were not on the drugs will help Beatrice’s case. I hope the Malaysian government has helped her to get a good lawyer and, if she is completely innocent, that she will not have to linger in the Australian prison any longer.
Her three children need her. Her other family members also need her. And after so much time to reflect, I am sure she realises that she needs them too.
The report from Bernama:
Sarawak Nurse To Face Court On Drug Charge On Monday
By Neville D’Cruz
MELBOURNE, Jan 7 (Bernama) – A young Sarawakian nurse, accused of attempting to import a ‘marketable quantity of drug’ into the airport here on Nov 6 will face the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Monday for a plea hearing.
Beatrice Laus Johie, of Kuching, was found to have about 1.5 kilograms of heroin in her luggage when checked by Australian Customs.
The 28-year-old divorced mother-of-three was charged the next day and remanded in custody.
She told the Malaysian Consul-General here, Dr Mohd Rameez Yahaya who visited her at the women’s prison in Deer Park, about 30km west of here on Thursday, she did not know she was carrying the drug.
Her Legal Aid lawyer has told her none of the fingerprints found on the package containing the drug belonged to her.
Johie said her travelling bag was packed by her then Nigerian boyfriend (name and phone number have been supplied to the authorities here and in Malaysia) who hurried her to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to catch an AirAsia flight to Melbourne.
She said she took leave from her hospital in Kuching after the 21-year-old Nigerian Stamford College student had asked her to come to Kuala Lumpur for a few days but when she arrived in Kuala Lumpur, he said they were going to Australia for a holiday.
But on the day of departure, he claimed he had problems with his visa and could not accompany her to Melbourne and asked her to go ahead, Johie said.
The nurse said she was shocked and devastated when Customs found the heroin.
“I had no idea it was in my luggage,” she said.
She told Mohd Rameez her prison conditions were fine and she had no complaints, but she missed her family, especially her three children.
Mohd Rameez assured Johie the Consulate would take care of her welfare and she can be assured of a fair trial.