Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

'Tricked' into Prison Term; Thai Authorities Failed to Allow Local Men Lawyer or Interpreter

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

'Tricked' into Prison Term; Thai Authorities Failed to Allow Local Men Lawyer or Interpreter

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER CHAPMAN news@northernstar.com.au

TWO young men jailed in Thailand recently for allegedly making a false report to police that they'd been robbed claim officials persuaded them into pleading guilty to the fraud charge.

Jacob McGrath and Paul Johnson, both 22, of Yamba, said on Channel Nine's A Current Affair last night Thai police led them to believe that by pleading guilty they'd just get a fine and be sent home.

"The next thing we were before a judge and sentenced to jail," Jacob said.

Speaking from his Yamba home last night, Jacob said they were never offered an interpreter, a phone call or any chance to talk to a legal representative.

The two men spent two months at the notorious Chiang Mai prison in a cell with up to 50 other men and just one toilet.

Their drama with the Thai authorities centred on a call they made to police saying they'd had a laptop, digital cameras, iPods and two pairs of sunglasses stolen from their hostel room. …

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