A New South Wales grandmother convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia will today have her fate decided by the country’s highest court.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto will be hanged for her crimes if her death sentence is not overturned in Malaysia’s Court of Final Appeal.
The 55-year-old was convicted of trafficking more than one kilogram of crystal methamphetamine through Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2014.
She had first been found not guilty in a lower court after judges heard how she was set up through an online boyfriend scam by a man pretending to be a US soldier stationed in Afghanistan.
Exposto testified she had arranged to meet “Captain Daniel Smith” in Shanghai, but when he failed to turn up she befriended a stranger who asked her to take a black backpack, which she thought contained only clothes, to Melbourne.
Customs officers noticed something green during a routine scan during a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, with Exposto volunteering her bags up for a search.
Officers then noticed the stitching inside the backpack was not matching and found the packages of meth after it was opened.
Prosecutors appealed the initial not guilty verdict and won, with the mother of four sentenced to death.
The Sydney woman’s final appeal has been complicated by changes in laws governing executions.
Use of the death penalty is currently suspended and pending legislation set to remove mandatory death sentences for drug traffickers – sending convicts to the gallows will be left to the discretion of the judges.
Her lawyer Muhammad Farhan Shafee said her appeal would focus on legal technicalities and the defence would argue the lower court that found her guilty had erred in their judgement.
“We’re very confident. We have always maintained that the facts have always been as Maria said,” he said.
AAP contributed to this report.