Wednesday 19 September 2018

British woman jailed over 'daft' smuggling of painkillers

Laura Plummer (33) accidentally pleaded guilty in court. Photo credit: Family handout/PA Wire
Laura Plummer (33) accidentally pleaded guilty in court. Photo credit: Family handout/PA Wire

Josie Ensor Beirut

A British woman accused of smuggling painkillers into Egypt has been jailed for three years, her family has said.

Shop worker Laura Plummer (33), from Hull, was arrested after she was found to be carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her suitcase, a painkiller which is legal in the UK but which is banned in Egypt.

Ms Plummer's family, who have described her as "naïve", said she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain.

The family said her lawyers lodged an immediate appeal.

Ms Plummer appeared in court on Christmas Day but the judge adjourned the case for a day because of her condition.

On Monday she sobbed in the courtroom in Hurghada after she became overwhelmed with emotions and accidentally pleaded guilty to the offence.

She has insisted the tablets were for her Egyptian partner Omar Abdel Aziz (31), known as 'Caboo', who suffers from chronic back pain.

She said she was unaware the drug, which is legal in the UK, was banned in Egypt.

The Plummer family has previously said Ms Plummer had no idea that what she doing was illegal and was just "daft".

They said she did not try to hide the medicine, which she had been given by a friend, and she thought it was a joke when she was pulled over by officials after arriving for a holiday with her partner.

Roberta Sinclair said her daughter was being held in terrible conditions in a communal cell with no beds, sharing with up to 25 other women.

Ms Plummer is being held in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, where she was arrested at the airport on October 9. Her family had been told that she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty.

Sister Rachel Plummer said her mother was "devastated" by the sentence.

She said the family were trying to find out more details about what happened in the courtroom yesterday.

She said: "My mum's obviously devastated.

"She's out there by herself."

She added that she did not know when the appeal would be heard.

She said: "We're just hoping. Even half of that would be better. Anything less than three years.

"She doesn't deserve that."

Mr Dia al-Bassal, Ms Plummer's lawyer, said there was a lack of criminal intent because she was unaware that the pills were banned in Egypt. He said the court could also not prove she brought them into the country to sell them.

"It's not logic that a British citizen would trade five boxes of tramadol. The ticket she brought to come to Egypt cost more than the value of the tramadol she was caught with," Mr Bassal said.

Irish Independent

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