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Malaysia: Australian nurse may face death penalty

Posted: 2012-07-30
From: Mathaba
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Melbourne nurse Emma L`aguille.

An Australian nurse living in Kuala Lumpur will today be formally charged with a Malaysian offence that attracts the death penalty, after she was found in the driverís seat of a car where close to a kilogram of methamphetamine was allegedly hidden.

The 34-year-old nurse from Melbourne, Emma Louise L'aiguille, had been working as a nurse in Kuala Lumpur until her arrest on July 17.

She had been sitting in a parked car on a main road in downtown Kuala Lumpur with an unidentified Nigerian man when officers from the Royal Malaysia Policeís narcotics unit arrested them.

A subsequent search of the car revealed what Malaysian police allege is about a kilogram of methamphetamine stashed under one of the carís seats.

Ms L'aiguille, who is expected to be formally charged at a court hearing this morning, is the second Australian this year to possibly face the death penalty after being accused of drug trafficking.

Perth man Dominic Jude Christopher Bird, 32, was arrested on March 1 in a sting operation by police at a Kuala Lumpur coffee shop. Police say he was trying to sell them 167grams of methamphetamine.

"Australian consular officials are providing consular assistance to the woman and her family,í" a spokesperson for the Australian High Commission in Malaysia said.

It is expected Ms L'aiguille will be charged with drug trafficking under the Dangerous Drugs Act, which attracts the death penalty.

She is also expected to be charged with another offence under that act relating to "self-administration" of a dangerous drug. That offence attracts a fine of up to 5000 Malaysian ringgit ($A1516) and two years in jail.

Anyone convicted of carrying more than 50 grams of illicit drugs faces a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.

She will be represented by lawyers Muhammad Shafee and Tanya Scivetti during todayís hearing.

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