A 67-year-old Queensland woman has been sentenced to four years in jail for attempting to pervert the course of justice and giving false evidence after helping her son flee a pending trial in Australia.
The court found the woman, Elizabeth Anne Turner, had deliberately misled judicial proceedings after her son failed to face court for cocaine importation and trafficking charges in 2015.
Police found she assisted her son in evading authorities by purchasing and preparing a yacht for him to flee on while he was on bail.
Told court her son had committed suicide
Turner told the Supreme Court in 2016 that she had not contacted her son, Markis Scott Turner, for several weeks and that her son had taken his own life.
Property and cash totalling $395,000 – which was provided to secure his bail – was forfeited to the court following his disappearance.
Markis Turner was wanted by the AFP for his role in allegedly importing more than 71 kilograms of cocaine into Australia in 2011. A two-year international operation resulted in his re-arrest in the Philippines in September 2017.
Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police Service officers arrested Elizabeth Turner in the central Queensland city of Mackay on 28 July, 2019.
Found guilty of providing false testimony
She was found guilty of giving false testimony and of attempting to pervert justice in Mackay District Court on 12 November 2020. Sentencing was delayed due to her request for a medical and psychological examination.
This week she was sentenced to four years in jail with a non-parole period of two years.
Passing sentence, Judge Suzanne Sheridan said Elizabeth Turner’s offending was very serious.
“It requires a punishment which is a deterrent to you and a deterrent to the community at large,” Judge Sheridan said. “The sentencing must deter people from helping those on bail escape.”
Police investigation spanning several years
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Crime, Northern Command, Tim Puchala, said the sentence was the result of a police investigation that spanned several years.
“Since the investigation was launched almost a decade ago in 2011, members of the Australian Federal Police, working with our partners, have spent countless hours to bring these people to justice” he said.
“This shows the dedication of the AFP to pursue not only those who try to bring drugs into this country, but any individuals who support organised crime.”