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Backpacker jailed for smuggling cannabis in India to appeal

A MOTHER fighting for her son to be freed from an Indian jail says she was devastated to hear his latest appeal hearing had been deferred.

Teresa Malluzzo’s son Patrick, aged 32, has so far served five years of a 10-year jail sentence for smuggling cannabis.

His family, of Upper Heath Lane, Dartford, believe he is an innocent man.

indian charas hashish cannabis marijuanaNow his appeal hearing has been deferred for the sixth time this year and is set to go ahead in the week beginning October 5.

They have been enduring an agonising wait to appeal since his conviction three years ago, which was due to be heard two weeks ago.

Mrs Malluzzo said: “We were really excited last time.

“When we found out it had been deferred we were absolutely devastated, but you have to keep picking yourself up.

“It’s not the first time, but we have got no control of the judicial system.

“It’s hell on earth, you are exhausted.”

The 61-year-old says she has lost count of the number of appeal dates the family has been given.

She said: “I do believe this is normal practice in India, from what we’re told this happens all the time.

“We never get a reason as to why, we are just told it’s been deferred and when the next date is.

“Of course you are frustrated all the time, but we just have to move on.”

Patrick was travelling around India in November 2003 when police found drugs in a bag next to his.

The bag also contained a ticket bearing his name, which he claims must have been booked by his friend.

He was arrested in January 2004 while waiting at Mumbai airport to catch a flight to Thailand to meet his girlfriend.

Charity Fair Trials International has been campaigning for Patrick’s release.

Caseworker Wafa Shah said: “Since August 2006, the Indian High court has repeatedly delayed hearing Patrick’s appeal.

“Despite having very strong grounds for appealing his conviction, he has now served nearly half of his original sentence in an Indian prison.

“Justice for Patrick is long overdue.”

For more information about the charity and how to make a donation visit fairtrials.net

By David Mills
Source: http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/4648912.DARTFORD__Jailed_backpacker_set_to_get_appeal_hearing/#show

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