Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Kiwi's last Christmas in prison

Argentine court reduces sentence.

Sharon Armstrong. Photo / Supplied
Sharon Armstrong. Photo / Supplied

Sharon Armstrong's jail term in Argentina for cocaine smuggling has been reduced on appeal.

The former deputy head of the Maori Language Commission is confident she will be home next year after her sentence was reduced by 10 months to four years.

However, Armstrong, 55, intends to also appeal against the conviction. She was sentenced to four years and 10 months in February in Buenos Aires for attempting to carry 5kg of cocaine on to a London-bound flight at Ezaiza Airport.

Armstrong maintains she was duped by a love interest she met on the internet.

A new set of judges looked at the decision and reduced it by 10 months on appeal. Armstrong has already served around 19 months.

In her blog, Armstrong wrote: "My conviction is still under appeal and, as I have said many times, the one sure thing here is that nothing happens fast.

"Christmas is just around the corner and, while it will be my second in here, there is huge comfort in also knowing it will be my last."

According to Buenos Aires newspaper Clarin, Armstrong wants the sentence annulled or reduced to two years eight months so she can be released immediately.

Armstrong's is one of several high-profile cases of foreigners duped by internet contacts into smuggling cocaine. English physicist Paul Frampton was sentenced to four years eight months this week after being arrested with 2kg of cocaine in his luggage while trying to fly from Argentina to Peru. An Argentine judge did not believe his claim he had been duped by a "well-known model".


bevan.hurley@hos.co.nz

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Oct 2014 13:49:27 Processing Time: 1558ms