Care worker's freedom hopes dashed

By Juliette MaxamA CARE WORKER facing drug trafficking charges in the Caribbean has been left distraught after the court case that could have cleared her was adjourned.

By Juliette Maxam

A CARE WORKER facing drug trafficking charges in the Caribbean has been left distraught after the court case that could have cleared her was adjourned.

Marianne Telfer, 28, had been due to attend a court in the Dominican Republic capital, Santo Domingo, yesterday for a habeas corpus application.

However, a mix-up at the prison left Miss Telfer, a care worker from Ardleigh, unable to get to the hearing.


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The prison authorities had not completed Miss Telfer's transfer papers so she could not leave prison to go to court, which meant her case was adjourned until June 3.

Miss Telfer was arrested for drug trafficking after her boyfriend, Richard Flack, 34, from Colchester, collapsed and died at their hotel in Puerto Plata after condoms filled with cocaine burst inside his stomach.

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The care worker has insisted she is innocent, but faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Miss Telfer's lawyers, assembled with the help of campaign group Fair Trials Abroad, were due to argue in court there was no case for her to answer and she should be freed immediately.

Last night her father, Roger, a part-time economics lecturer at Colchester Institute, said his daughter had been "distraught" when she had found out about the mix-up.

"She has been able to phone out during the afternoon. She's gradually discovered the reason for what happened and discovered it's quite commonplace," he added.

"She'd been prepared for this, building up for weeks and then her hopes were dashed.

"I'm pretty fed-up. I was very angry to begin with. I hadn't been aware adjournments happen worldwide. It didn't occur to me. I knew there might be a problem in court, but not getting Marianne to court."

Mr Telfer said there had been a hope his daughter would have been freed as a result of the court case, but she probably would not have been released straightaway because of all the paperwork involved.

Miss Telfer's mother, Sheila, is in the Dominican Republic and is taking the matter up with the authorities.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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