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Pattaya Daily News

22 March 2008 :: 16:03:02 pm 30059

Ex-Victoria Woman Gets Light Term In Thai Slaying

31/2-year sentence for lover‘s murder is the best possible outcome, lawyer says CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- A former Victoria woman was sentenced yesterday to 31/2 years in prison for the murder of her long-term lover -- a con man with cult-like appeal who was also the father of her six children.
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It is considered one of the lightest sentences ever delivered in Thailand for a foreigner charged with murder.

Margaret Crane, 50, had pleaded guilty to shooting Daniel George Dubie, 56, in the chest in this northern tourist town, 600 kilometres north of Bangkok, two years ago. “I’m very happy,” a smiling Crane called out to a group of western friends as she was led from court.

“This is the best possible sentence in the circumstances,” said Crane’s lawyer, Pongsaporn Peejadee.

Crane stood clutching a Bible during the 40-minute hearing, looking calm and composed as two judges read out the reasons for the light sentence for a crime that would normally incur a sentence of 20 years in prison.

The judges said a potential sentence of 51/2 years, including 18 months for possession of a gun and ammunition, was reduced by two years because of Crane’s guilty plea. They also allowed a one-month period for an appeal.

“The court views that the defendant committed the crime as charged, but did it in a rage after being provoked, pressured and beaten,” a judge said as he read the verdict. “Therefore the sentence is lower than what is stated in the law.” It was unclear whether the sentence will be reduced by the 16 months that Crane has already spent in custody. However, on completion of sentences, it is normal Thai practice to deport foreign criminals immediately and ban them for life from returning to the country.

Peejadee said he was satisfied with the two-year sentence on the murder charge, but would appeal the 18 months on the firearm penalty as his client did not own or carry the pistol to the restaurant where Dubie was shot. Crane has previously told police that she used a revolver she took from him during a scuffle.

Dubie, who had a bizarre past and has drawn comparisons to cult leaders Charles Manson and Jim Jones, was shot in the chest after the couple had a heated argument. Earlier, the Bangkok Post reported that Crane told police she and her children suffered abuse at the hands of Dubie and that the situation had worsened since he began an affair with a Thai woman.

Crane, who never married Dubie but travelled with him across Canada, to Hawaii and Thailand over 28 years, was also dubbed by some as his “most devoted disciple.” Crane told the court she went to see Dubie at a restaurant to get cash he promised to give her and their children during a stay in Thailand, but he abused her verbally and said their youngest daughter was not his.

Crane’s eldest child, 23-year-old Angel, who lives in Victoria, was in Thailand for her mother’s court appearance on Feb. 29 when she entered her guilty plea but didn’t go for the sentencing. Yesterday, she couldn’t be reached for comment via telephone or at her home.

After the shooting, Angel successfully won custody of her five younger siblings who were with their mother in Thailand. They were greatly helped by community donations of furniture, household articles and money.

In an earlier interview, Angel said her father had a bizarre outlook on life and manipulated those around him.

“He had my mother convinced that she was responsible for bringing sin into the world and it was now up to them to reset the balance in the world between good and evil,” Angel said shortly after her mother’s arrest.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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