|31 years imprisonment (later reduced to 22 years, six months)|
|Released 6 December 2012|
Holly Deane-Johns (born 1972) is an Australian woman convicted in Thailand of attempting to post a parcel of 11 grams heroin back to Australia. Further quantities of 15 grams of heroin was found in her Bangkok apartment and another 110 grams in the residence of her companion Robert Halliwell. Originally facing the death penalty, she pleaded guilty in 2003 to heroin trafficking in order to receive a reduced sentence of 31 years. She was released from prison in December 2012.
Under Thai law, traffickers found with more than 100 grams of heroin face a mandatory penalty of death by lethal injection. She was born in Western Australia, where she attended Mount Lawley Senior High School in Perth, becoming a heroin addict at the age of 15. Her mother died from a heroin overdose. Deane-Johns spent six years in Western Australia's Bandyup Women's Prison for a range of drug related offences prior to the Thai conviction.
Background and arrest
Deane-Johns was arrested by Thai police in August 2000 when she attempted to mail a parcel, later found to contain about 11 grams of heroin at Bangkok Central Post Office in the company of Robert Halliwell. Thai narcotics agents had been monitoring their movements for two months previously.
She had flown to Thailand in early 2000 to reunite with her boyfriend, but after he returned early to Australia spent time with Halliwell, a mutual friend and fellow junkie who had fled to Thailand 20 years earlier to escape drugs charges in Australia.
Prisoner transfer to Australia
After having spent seven years in incarceration in the Klong Prem Central Prison in Chatuchak, in 2006 Deane-Johns applied to be transferred to a Western Australian jail under a 2002 bilateral prisoner exchange agreement between Australia and Thailand. Despite Federal government approval, her application was refused by Western Australian Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk.
On 14 June 2007, Federal Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston urged the Western Australian Government to reconsider its decision to block Deane-Johns' return but the request was promptly declined. Minister Quirk announced on 9 August 2007 that she now supported Deane-Johns' return to Australia based on new medical evidence that she had been provided with that indicated Deane-John's "already serious health problems would be further complicated should she remain in the Bangkok prison".
On 7 December 2007, Deane-Johns arrived back in Australia where she was transferred to Bandyup Women's Prison. She was released in December 2012, having completed a post-graduate diploma in social work while in prison.
- Mark Baker (5 July 2003). "Heroin addicts escape Thai death sentence". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 2007-12-07.
- "A hell away from home". The Age (Melbourne). 9 October 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
- "Quirk rejects Deane-Johns plea". perthnow.com. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-28.[dead link]
- "Circumstances Unlikely To Change". Minister of Justice and Customs. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- Ben Spencer. The West Australian 9 August 2007
- Gabrielle Knowles (7 December 2007). "Holly Deane-Johns flies home from Thailand". The West. Retrieved 2007-12-07.[dead link]
- Heroin trafficker Holly Deane-Johns freed from Bandyup Prison after 12 years – PerthNow. Published 6 December 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.