Australian Story: Aug 19

In part two of Australian Story‘s look at Yoshe Taylor in a Cambodian prison, serious questions are raised about the involvement of Australian authorities.

Seemingly abandoned in a Cambodian jail cell, Queensland schoolteacher Yoshe Taylor was three years into a 23-year sentence for drug smuggling.

Her claims she was the innocent victim of an international drug syndicate that had groomed her via a dating website had been rejected by the local court and she was losing hope.

“I was three years a mushroom,” she says. “I did not want to spend 23 years away from my children. I felt like that it’s just causing them pain. And they would be better off if I wasn’t here anymore, because at least they could mourn and get over it.”

It wasn’t until some Melbourne lawyers came together over a chance lunch that links were made between Ms. Taylor’s case and that of another an innocent woman caught carrying drugs into Australia.

“We realised there were a number of striking similarities,” says the victim’s lawyer. “The amounts of heroin were around the same… the manner in which it was secreted in the bags was very similar.”

The lawyers then worked together pro bono, meticulously piecing together evidence proving Ms. Taylor was one of four Australians to have been tricked into carrying backpacks containing heroin.

This episode also raises serious questions about the involvement of Australian authorities in Yoshe Taylor’s case.

Now back in Australia and reunited with her two children, Ms. Taylor is speaking exclusively to Australian Story about her ordeal and the perils of trusting people online.

“If one person is protected because they’ve seen the story… if it can save one other Australian, I’ll be really happy,” she says.

8pm tonight on ABC.

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