Justices call for urgent review of death row grandmother's legal aid refusal

Darlington and Stockton Times: DRUGS CONVICTION: Lindsay Sandiford DRUGS CONVICTION: Lindsay Sandiford

THE UK's highest court has called on the Government to carry out an urgent review of whether funding for legal representation can be given in the case of a grandmother facing death by firing squad in Indonesia for drugs offences.

Lindsay Sandiford, originally from Redcar, needs a substantial sum to continue her legal battle against the sentence, which was imposed after she was found with cocaine worth an estimated £1.6m as she arrived in Bali on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2012.

The only legal options now available to her to avoid execution are an application to the Supreme Court in Indonesia to reopen the case, and an application to the President of Indonesia for clemency - the time limit for both expires on August 29.

Although a panel of five Supreme Court justices dismissed Sandiford's challenge over the lawfulness of a Government policy not to provide funding for legal representation to Britons facing capital charges abroad, they said that in the light of new information a further review of her "extreme" case needs to be undertaken by the Foreign Secretary.

Lord Carnwath said the Foreign Office was prepared to consider whether the policy should be modified in the circumstances of her case as they were in January 2013 when proceedings began - and the reasons for not making an exception to the no-funding policy were not unlawful or irrational.

He said Sandiford "remains in jeopardy" and added: "The evidence now available as to the Indonesian proceedings raises serious issues as to the functioning of the local judicial system and its treatment of her case."

Sandiford, 57, was sentenced to death in January 2013 after being convicted of trafficking drugs. She admitted the offences, but claimed she had been coerced by threats to her son's life.

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