Australian gran wins Malaysia death sentence appeal

Sydney woman Maria Exposto has drug conviction and death sentence overturned in Malaysia

Federal Court acquits Australian woman facing death penalty for drug trafficking

"The judges said this is not a case safe enough for them to declare a conviction. because there is so much dissatisfaction over the features and the evidence that have been presented", he told reporters.

The 55-year-old has maintained that she fell victim to an online romance scam, and believed she was engaged to "Captain Daniel Smith", a widowed US Special Forces soldier stationed in Afghanistan.

Her lawyer said he is now applying for her release.

Asked what she would do first, Exposto laughed and said, "I'm going out to eat a steak and drink some wine because those five years I did not have any".

While in transit at KLIA, Shafee said "Maria didn't know" she did not need to come out of the transit zone in order to change planes, and followed the other passengers through immigration. Shafee said Exposto's acquittal could "open the eyes" of traditionally conservative judges.

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Maria Exposto, 55, was arrested in the Malaysian capital in 2014 while in transit to Melbourne from Shanghai, and in May previous year she was found guilty of smuggling more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine.

Maria Exposto has had her sentence to be hanged for drug trafficking quashed in Malaysia after 18 months on death row. The Federal Court's decision is final. But she did not succeed in meeting her supposed love interest and was instead given a bag by a stranger, who asked her to take it to Melbourne.

The "friend" gave her a flight ticket to Melbourne and a backpack he claimed contained Christmas gifts for his relatives who lived in the city.

Malaysia is now not carrying out any executions, while it debates scrapping mandatory death sentences for certain crimes altogether.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto after being found not guilty in December 2017.

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On her way back to Australia, Exposto transited through Kuala Lumpur.

A reformist government which took power past year vowed to abolish capital punishment entirely but watered down the plan after a conservative backlash, and has instead said it will scrap the mandatory death sentence for some crimes.

"Judges are only human".

Malaysia' government earlier this year backtracked on plans to abolish capital punishment, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes, following public objections.

But prosecutors argued "love sickness" was not a defence for drug trafficking and she could not appeal to naivete.

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