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Innocent Daisy walks free from jail.

A British backpacker was yesterday "over the moon" at being set free from an Indian jail where she has spent the last five years on drug smuggling charges.

Daisy Angus was 22 when she was caught with 10kg of cannabis in a secret compartment in her suitcase at Mumbai airport in November 2002. She was jailed for ten years by a judge in Mumbai Sessions Court on June 21 last year and had served four and a half years when the High Court in Mumbai overturned the conviction on Thursday.

She was released from Yerawada Central Jail, in Pune, yesterday afternoon and, speaking from Mumbai, said: "I am over the moon to finally be free.

"Knowing that I was innocent and that justice would eventually prevail is one of the things I have clung on to during the past five gruelling years."

Ms Angus was on a round-the-world trip having given up her job as a fitness instructor in Bournemouth. She was about to board a plane to Berlin along with Israeli Yoram Kadesh when she was stopped by customs officers.

She said she had been given the suitcase after her own bag broke. Her family later said she knew there was something inside the suitcase, but that she did not know what it contained.

Ms Angus and her family, who live in Bournemouth, have always protested her innocence.

She said: "I could not have got through this without the love and support of my family, especially my mum who has stood by me throughout, working tirelessly to get me out and prove my innocence.

"I just haven't been able to stop hugging her since coming out of jail."

Ms Angus's mother Nadine lodged an appeal in the Indian High Court in October last year with the defence team arguing the suitcase belonged to Mr Kadesh and was in his possession. They argued Ms Angus had borrowed the bag as her's was torn.

Her co-accused, Mr Kadesh, was freed by a judge because of a lack of evidence. His acquittal is now the subject of an appeal.

Ms Angus's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani explained: "Daisy was completely innocent. She was lured on false pretences into carrying a suitcase carrying drugs, of which she had no knowledge.

"Indeed, all the evidence collected by the custom authorities in Mumbai and adduced by the prosecution in her trial suggested that she was innocent.

"Unfortunately for her, the trial judge erroneously appropriated the evidence."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 9, 2007
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