Woman jailed for helping fugitive son flee Australia
A woman who helped her fugitive son flee the country one month before his drug smuggling trial will spend two years behind bars for her offending which "struck at the very heart" of the justice system.
Elizabeth Anne Turner, 66, was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury after she offered $520,000 to help her son get bail, then bought him a yacht that he sailed to the Philippines.
Turner, 66, appeared in Brisbane District Court on Monday via video from Townsville Correctional Centre where extraordinary details of the elaborate ruse were aired.
The court heard Markis Scott Turner was arrested in Mackay in 2011 and accused of heading-up a major cocaine importation syndicate.
He was granted bail after his mother offered $450,000 surety and a $70,000 cash deposit.
But one month before he was due to face trial for cocaine smuggling, trafficking and possession, he disappeared.
Turner later told a Supreme Court that she believed her son had taken his own life, but authorities detained Mr Turner in the Philippines in 2017.
He remains there in detention.
Turner, who previously owned the Mt Coolon Hotel west of Mackay, was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and three counts of perjury after a nine-day trial.
Judge Suzanne Sheridan said that the offending had extended over a number of years and involved providing money for her son to buy a yacht, and also travelling with her daughter-in-law and his children to Poland.
The court heard she had made false statements to police, sworn false affidavits and given false evidence to the Supreme Court which helped him remain at large.
"It was conduct designed to avoid a significant financial loss of $520,000 and it was designed to avoid your son's recapture," Judge Sheridan said.
"I accept that you were placed in a position where, out of love for your son, you assisted him to escape and that is a position that is unlikely to be repeated."
Judge Sheridan said while Turner was unlikely to reoffend, the charges for which she had been found guilty were very serious.
"The offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice strikes at the very heart of the administration of justice," she said.
"Our criminal justice system depends on the properly functioning system of bail.
"It relies on parents and supporters of the defendants who are on the bail to support that process."
Turner was sentenced to four years' jail with a non-parole period of two years.
Mr Turner is expected to be handed over to Australian authorities after a Manila Regional Trial Court blocked his appeal last year which requested the court stop his extradition.
Originally published as Woman jailed for helping fugitive son flee Australia