Australian and American on Thai death row released from Thai death row, Supreme Court clears drug trafficking case

Stock photo (2017 investigation)

An Australian and Thai married couple, and an American man, who were on death row in Bangkok on charges for trafficking crystal methamphetamine have all been released from prison. A report from the Sydney Morning Herald says they had been accused of smuggling half a tonne of crystal methamphetamine for the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Thailand.

After being cleared by the Supreme Court last week, 37 year old Luke Cook from Western Australia arrived in Sydney and Tyler Gerard, who is from California, flew back to the United States.

The Sydney Morning Herald says Luke Cook, who used to run a bar and guest house in Pattaya, has been pleading his innocence since he was jailed in 2017 and his father has campaigned for his release.

According to the report, they had been arrested following accusations that Luke Cook had been paid $US10 million by the Hells Angels to smuggle 500 kilograms of methamphetamine aboard his yacht where Tyler Gerard was said to be a crew hand. Police had alleged that Cook dumped the drugs overboard when a Thai navy vessel approached and a package with just over 50 kilograms of meth was found on a beach in Chon Buri.

The Melbourne-based Capital Punishment Justice Project have supported the defence lawyers and argued it was a set up and the men are innocent.

In a press release published on the Pattaya News, Thailand Bail Legal Services announced that the case has been completely dismissed by the Supreme Court and both Luke Cook and Tyler Gerard are out of prison, out of Thailand, and back home.

The case has been completely dismissed by the Supreme Court after 19 months of consideration since the death penalty verdict from the Court of Appeals. The defendants, Australian Luke Joshua Cook and American Tyler Gerard (AKA Tyler Joseph Fulton Sheen Gerard), after almost 4 years and 6 years behind bars respectively, are out of prison, out of Thailand, and back home. We believe this is a major win for our firm, for our clients, and for Thailand’s legal system.

SOURCES: Sydney Morning Herald | Pattaya News

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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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