An overheard conversation could be the key to solving how the father of a socialite found himself on death row in Singapore charged with smuggling cocaine.
Phillip George Sceats, the businessman father of famed jewellery designer Amber Sceats, spent 353 days on death row in Singapore’s Changi Prison.
All charges were sensationally dropped before Mr Sceats made it to trial – but not before he watched 14 of his cellmates being walked to their execution.
Mr Sceats returned to Australia a shell of his former self after 12 months behind bars.
‘I am a broken man. I would give anything to know what really happened,’ he said.
Mr Sceats and his family are determined to find who framed him for the smuggling operation and why, and almost a year on from returning home in February 2019, they may finally get some answers.
New South Wales Police is poised to question Mr Sceats over his time in custody and his theories about how he landed in prison, The Courier Mail reported.
In particular one overheard conversation could be the key to unravelling the mystery.
Notoriously private, Ms Sceats’ last media interview with Elle in 2015 revealed she idolised her ‘fighter’ mother, ‘who inspires me to push through life’s toughest moments and stay strong in every aspect imaginable’
Mr Sceats (pictured) denied having any knowledge of the drugs and hired a well known Singaporean lawyer to fight the charges
A 12-page dossier containing evidence compiled by Mr Sceats’ private legal team – which included several former high ranking police officers from three states – was initially handed to the Australian Federal Police.
But they say they were never contacted about the information contained in the file.
A witness’ statement was contained in the dossier which mentioned a conversation prior to Mr Sceats’ arrest, which police are particularly interested in.
Former Queensland Assistant Police Commissioner Graham Rynders, who was part of the high-powered legal team, said it was clear to him very early on that Mr Sceats was the victim of an ‘elaborate set up’.
‘We held the view that more than likely one or more people had set him up and this was strongly supported by the evidence we had obtained,’ Mr Rynders said.
‘The consequences of those actions led to him being incarcerated on death row in Changi prison and ultimately could have cost him his life.’
What should have been a romantic getaway to celebrate his 64th birthday in March 2018 turned into a nightmare ordeal when he was stopped at the airport and asked to point out his luggage.
Baggage handlers found two satchels of cocaine totalling almost 90 grams taped to a side pocket – hidden so poorly it was almost as if someone was ‘supposed’ to find the drugs.
Ms Sceats (pictured), who considers PR maven Roxy Jacenko one of her close friends, maintained her luxury jewellery business in the midst of all the devastation
Phillip George Sceats (pictured), the father of famed jewellery designer and socialite Amber Sceats, spent 353 days on death row in Singapore’s Changi Prison
He was whisked away to prison and informed that if convicted, he faced the death penalty.
Mr Sceats denied having any knowledge of the drugs and hired a well-known Singaporean lawyer to fight the charges.
The lawyer argued Mr Sceats had no reason to smuggle drugs from Australia to Singapore due to the lack of demand.
He would have been the first Australian ever charged with the offence, and the street value of the cocaine halved when compared to the price he would have paid for them in Australia.
He also passed a lie detector test about the drugs, bank records proved he hadn’t made any unusual withdrawals and no cocaine was found in his system during a drug test.
Methadone was found in his system, but he had a long running prescription for the opioid in Australia, The Daily Telegraph reported.
As he languished in a Singaporean prison, his family back home hired a powerful team of detectives to help prove his innocence while also maintaining his business interests.
Baggage handlers found two satchels of cocaine taped to a side pocket – almost as if someone was ‘supposed’ to find the drugs
Ms Sceats, who considers PR maven Roxy Jacenko one of her close friends, maintained her luxury jewellery business in the midst of all the devastation.
While her adoptive father was behind bars, Ms Sceats’ empire boomed and Australian celebrities – from Jacenko to actress Samara Weaving and Isabelle Cornish have been spotted wearing her designs.
Notoriously private, her last media interview with Elle in 2015 revealed she idolised her ‘fighter’ mother, ‘who inspires me to push through life’s toughest moments and stay strong in every aspect imaginable’.
The family knew they had to stay strong for Mr Sceats, and often wrote to him and encouraged him to keep his spirits high while behind bars.
He had just 20 minutes’ freedom a day, which he used to read or perform yoga, and otherwise sat in his cell with three other inmates facing death row.
‘I started losing hope, Mr Sceats said. ‘I saw people disappearing. It was pretty rough. It was very strict regime in there. If you do something wrong they give you the cane on the bare bum.
‘Guards come past your cell every hour. They don’t turn the lights off when you are on the death penalty.’
Pictured: The suitcase Mr Sceats pointed out to baggage handlers that belonged to him
Mr Sceats refused to even consider taking a plea deal, despite knowing he faced the death penalty if convicted.
His Australian team of investigators and detectives tried to enlist the help of the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales Police, but claimed they were ignored at every turn.
The primary question his legal team wanted answered was who made the initial tip to Singaporean authorities.
But the AFP said they had no knowledge of the arrest until after it took place, and refused to cooperate further.
Mr Sceats is adamant he saw people wearing AFP hats and clothing in Singapore airport on the day of his arrest, and thinks more should have been done to investigate who set him up.
On February 18, 2019, his Australian team took a dossier to the AFP with a summary of events and possible person of interest and potential crimes committed in relation to the set up.
While her adoptive father was behind bars, Ms Sceats’ empire boomed and Australian celebrities – from Jacenko to actress Samara Weaving and Isabelle Cornish have been spotted wearing her designs
The dossier was also sent to his Singaporean lawyer, who forwarded it to Singapore Attorney-General Lucien Wong SC.
On February 23 2019, Mr Sceats’ legal team was told he was going to be freed.
He was taken out of his cell at 4.30am and spent almost 12 hours questioning what was happening, only to learn he had been freed.
Mr Sceats was so shocked to learn charges had been dismissed his legs gave way.
But a year on, he is still no closer to learning who falsely accused him of smuggling drugs into the notoriously strict country.
Source: Daily Mail Australia | News Colony