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Australian Woman With Bar Mat.

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Thai court frees bar mat Aussie

PHUKET: -- Australian woman Annice Smoel has been released from detention in Thailand and is free to travel home, according to reports in Phuket.

The Phuket Wan website says Ms Smoel, who faced five years in jail for allegedly stealing a bar mat, was given a six-month suspended jail term and a 1,000 baht ($30) fine for theft.

It said the ruling was made at a provincial court in Phuket City on Wednesday.

"The jail term will be stayed for one year and if Ms Smoel does not commit any crime in Thailand for the year, her jail term will not have to be served," the website reports.

The website says her passport had been returned and she would be allowed to return to Australia.

-- Nine MSN, AU

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Australian woman in Thai bar mat prank free to head home

Australian woman Annice Smoel has been released from detention in Thailand and is reportedly free to travel home.

Ms Smoel, who faced five years in jail for allegedly stealing a bar mat, has been given a six-month suspended jail term and a 1,000 baht ($30) fine for theft at the provincial court in Phuket City.

A website says the fine was paid by the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-Nob.

The 36-year-old Melbourne mother of four had pleaded guilty in court.

Ms Smoel and her husband Darren embraced after the ruling.

"I don't know exactly how it all happened today. I think it was probably a combination of my lawyers here, my lawyers in Australia and my government and the Thai government,” Ms Smoel said.

"The governor has apologised to me and been very kind. He seems like a lovely man."

She was arrested on May 2 for allegedly stealing the bar mat from the Aussie Bar in Phuket, where she was celebrating her mother's 60th birthday.

She spent four days in jail and had been told she could have had to wait 14 weeks before her case came to court.

Ms Smoel claimed her friends had put the bar mat in her handbag as a practical joke.

-- livenews.com.au 2009-05-20

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the latest news that i have is that the governer of phuket has got involved and that she was given her passport back after pleading guilty and she can return home .

cheers.

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She was fined 1000 baht (A$38), which was paid by the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob.

He intervened in the case after receiving telephone calls earlier today from Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and the Foreign Ministry.

Governor Wichai said he felt very sorry for her and considered she was not at fault.

He wondered why the Australian owner of the Aussie Bar would allow a dispute to develop with a fellow Australian.

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Thai jail mum Annice Smoel 'set free'

A MELBOURNE mother facing jail over the theft of a bar mat is reportedly heading home after pleading guilty in a Thai court today.

According to Phuket Wan, a news website in the Thai resort town, Annice Smoel was given a six-month suspended jail term and a 1000-baht fine for theft in a ruling today at a provincial court.

The jail term will be stayed for one year and if Mrs Smoel does not commit any crime in Thailand for the year, her jail term will not have to be served.

The website said the fine was paid by the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-nob.

He intervened after speaking to Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and the Foreign Ministry.

Ms Smoel, 36, and her husband Darren embraced after the ruling.

"I think I am going home," Ms Smoel told the website.

"The Governor is waiting for my passport now. He has been very gracious.

"I don't know exactly how it all happened today. I think it was probably a combination of my lawyers here, my lawyers in Australia and my government and the Thai Government.

"The Governor has apologised to me and been very kind. He seems like a lovely man."

Ms Smoel's lawyer in Australia, Bernard Murphy, said he was encouraged by today's developments.

"There have been some very good developments today but I'm reluctant to say anything until Annice is on a plane and on her way home," he said.

"The most important thing for us to do is to get her home."

Ms Smoel was arrested on May 2 for allegedly stealing the bar mat from the Aussie Bar in Phuket where she was celebrating her mother's 60th birthday.

She spent four days in jail and had been told she could have had to wait 14 weeks before her case came to court.

Mrs Smoel claimed her friends had put the bar mat in her handbag as a practical joke.

Earlier, Mrs Smoel's daughers issued a desperate video appeal for her to be freed, saying they were struggling to cope without her.

Lilly, 6, Zhian, 12, and Zoe, 8, spoke out today in an attempt to draw attention to their mother’s plight.

“We love our mum so much and we just want her home now,” a tearful eight-year-old Zoe said.

“I can’t really stand it much longer. We just want our mum home so bad.”

“We really need her back her with us so we can bring our family back together,” Zhian, 12, said.

Earlier today, Mr Rudd told The Daily Telegraph that consular officials were giving Mrs Smoel "practical'' support while working toward "as speedy a conclusion as possible''.

-- news.com.au 2009-05-20

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Aussie woman confesses in Phuket, released on US$ 28.00 fine

phuket-The-beer-mat-that-started-the-whole-controversy-was-145cm-by-45-cm-and-made-of-thick-rubber-1-PJBSbbI.jpg

The 'bar mat' that started the whole controversy

was 145cm by 45 cm and made of thick rubber.

PHUKET CITY: -- Australian tourist Annice Smoel today pleaded guilty to theft charges at Phuket Provincial Court and was released after paying a 1,000-baht fine (approx US$ 28.00).

Pol Maj Songserm Preecha of the Kathu Police told the Gazette today that the maximum sentence for the theft charge was one year imprisonment and a 2,000-baht fine, but Phuket Provincial Court halved both the prison sentence and fine based on her confession.

The court then suspended the prison sentence because Ms Smoel has no previous criminal record in Thailand.

Ms Smoel’s case has made major headlines in her native country, which is a prime source of tourists to Phuket at this time of year.

She was arrested and detained for two nights in a cell at Kathu Police Station after police caught her with a stolen beer mat (aka 'bar mat') from the Aussie Bar on Soi Bangla in Patong.

The bar mat, measuring 145cm by 45 cm, was made of thick rubber.

The Australian mother or four initially denied the charges, saying friends had put the item in her handbag without her knowledge as a prank.

Kathu Police forwarded the case to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office and seized her passport, preventing her from leaving Thailand to go home to her children.

The non-stop, worldwide publicity surrounding the case – and its possible impact on tourism – apparently made the court expedite the case.

A Thai person facing the same charge would typically have to wait weeks or months for a court hearing.

Maj Songserm also denied that Ms Smoel spent four nights in prison, as has been widely reported. She spent two nights in prison and was released after 48 hours, the maximum allowable under the law, he said.

Ms Smoel was in an angry mood and quarreled with staff at the Aussie Bar. She was arrested by uniformed officers after staff at the bar reported the theft, not by “undercover police” inside the bar as previously reported in major media around the world, he said.

pglogo.jpg

-- Phuket Gazette 2009-05-20

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How big was her hand bag then :)

The 'bar mat' that started the whole controversy was 145cm (4.75721 in Feet) by 45 cm (1.47637 foot long) and made of thick rubber.

Welcome to the 'News of this World' :D

Kan Win :D

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I do hope that someone can get a copy of the picture of the bar mat to the Prime minister in Aus!

If you could say that you did not see this mat (even rolled up realy realy tight) in a hand bag then you must be concidered a liar and it is no wonder the police took the stance that they did.

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First it was reported to be a "Slop Mat" (sorry can not find the link as it was from a Aussie News site) then as I have shown before on another thread that I think it would be a 'Bar Towel' and now I am sorry to say that this cannot not be the real 'Bar Mat' as it is a 'Foot Mat' that the said lady had a problem with :D or am I wrong :)

Your truly,

Kan Win :D

Edited by Kan Win

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"He wondered why the Australian owner of the Aussie Bar would allow a dispute to develop with a fellow Australian. " Quote from phuketwan.com attributed to the Govenor of Phuket. Sure the bar owner isn't feeling too comfortable now after the Govenor making a public statement concerning his action in the case.

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The beer mat is alot smaller than that floor mat.... sounds like a lot of misinformation. There is no way that huge floor mat would fit in a ladies handbag.

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It seems that she was given the choice....

Plead guilty with the promise of a small fine and immediate release and able to return to your family

Or

Look forward to possibly years away from your family waiting for your days in court. Living a wretched life with no income to pay for your stay here. Mounting lawyers fees with no income to pay them. A court hearing in a language that you don't understand, so far into the future that every one else will have lost interest, so you will probably have an inexperienced cheap lawyer. Every chance that you will be found guilty because of the inexperienced lawyer and then years in a Thai prison.

Happily, she went for the first option......Anybody that would seriously go for the 2nd option would have to be a totally brainless idiot.

At least she can get back home to her family now.

I hope that some lessons have been learned by all sides in this sorry saga

Edited by LivinginKata

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Thank you very much 'TheLaughingMan' as I also had a laugh or three about this whole hand bag 'Prank" :)

Yours truly,

Kan Win :D

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All right that is pretty F'd up.

I mean she IS pleased the Governor apologised. For what catching her OR her friends stealing.

Ok bye but they should of deported her and not let her be able to come back.

Gives a good arguement for all Ozzies now. Almost sounds like Bart Simpson. "Hey, its the IT WASN'T ME kid.

She's gonna make a few more bucks back here in Oz.

Shame. Shouldn't be allowed.

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"He wondered why the Australian owner of the Aussie Bar would allow a dispute to develop with a fellow Australian. " Quote from phuketwan.com attributed to the Govenor of Phuket. Sure the bar owner isn't feeling too comfortable now after the Govenor making a public statement concerning his action in the case.

I would assume that he has the CCTV footage of the event which could potentially clear his name if he needs to use it - unless the police have 'lost' it of course :)

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