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A Perth father whose son has been sentenced to death in Thailand is quickly losing hope, after a failed appeal, where his son was denied legal representation.
Paul Cook, 62, flew to Perth from Thailand to speak exclusively with 9News in a desperate last effort, begging Australian authorities to save his son’s life.
Originally from Duncraig, 36-year-old Luke Cook has been sentenced to death by a Thai court for attempting to smuggle half a tonne of ice.
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His father maintains he was framed.
“My son is not guilty of the charges he’s been charged with,” Mr Cook said.
“Questions need to be asked, and that’s why I’m here in Australia, that’s why I’m speaking out.”
Paul Cook says his son’s last hope was an appeal scheduled for March 26, but two weeks ago, his lawyer claims the 36-year-old was pulled from his Chonburi jail cell with no warning, and thrown before a court.
The father of two had no legal representation or embassy support, and his death sentence was upheld.
“How can an appeal be handled in such a way?” Mr Cook said while fighting back tears.
“You don’t know how alone I’ve felt.
“When the rules change, is that fair, is there hope?”
Thai police say Luke Cook attempted to smuggle half a tonne of methamphetamines to Australia, on behalf of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, in June 2015.
They say when Cook was spotted by a Thai navy vessel, he panicked, and threw the cargo overboard.
Two years later, a man named Douglas Shoebridge who claims he was on the boat with Luke Cook at the time, dobbed Cook in to Thai police.
Douglas Shoebridge is an international fugitive, wanted by Thai authorities on human trafficking charges over an international sex ring.
Luke Cook claims Shoebridge framed him, because he refused to lend him money.
Cook’s lawyers say the only evidence the prosecution presented, is the testimony of Douglas Shoebridge.
They weren’t able to produce any witnesses from the Thai navy, and only two bags of methamphetamine totalling 50 kilograms has ever been recovered.
Those parcels washed up on a Pattaya beach in June 2015, and there was no DNA found on the items, or on the vessel, to link Luke Cook to the drugs.
“There’s no possession involved here, none whatsoever,” Paul Cook said.
“Where the 500 kilos came from, I have no idea.”
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When the former FIFO caterer was arrested he was living a life of luxury in Pattaya, owning a hotel and bar, and at one time a yacht.
When questioned as to whether his son may have been involved in organised crime, Paul Cook was defiant in his rejection.
“My son is a good man,” he said.
“I can say now my son is no Hell’s Angel, he has not ever been associated with a group like that.”
Luke Cook is still on death row, as is his Thai wife, and his two sons are in Perth living with family.
The Department of Foreign Affairs says it’s providing consular assistance.
The 36-year-old may have one last hope, in the form of an appeal to the Thai King.
When asked whether his son deserves to die, Paul Cook said no.
“Does anyone deserve to die?” he said.
“I want the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Attorney General to ask themselves that question.”
“Are they prepared to sit and do nothing?”