End may be in sight for Filipino jail couple
HOPE could be on the horizon for a couple who have been detained in a Filipino jail for more than five years.
Kevin Taylor, 48, stands accused of defrauding jobseekers with promises of employment in the UK along with wife Charlene.
The father-of three has been supported by his parents, Gerald and Marie, from Stratton, who have ploughed all their savings into attempting to speed the process along and secure bail arrangements for their son.
As successive hearings have stalled, the couple have been buoyed by the news that the case may now be at a stage to progress, but fear for Kevin’s safety in the event he is released.
“We are just waiting now for Kevin to get some paperwork together,” said Gerald. “He has been in prison for so long that his documentation like his visa and work permit has run out.
“We have to get those to the judge in 15 days before the case can progress. It is still in limbo until we can get past that.
“We will then have another court appearance for him to present those papers to the judge to make sure he is legitimately able to conduct business there and everything is above board.
“We are confident we will have the paperwork within 15 days, but this documentation should have been ready four years ago.”
Gerald said he felt the legal system was set up to protract cases like his son’s.
“We had three lawyers in the beginning and they took us all for a great amount of money,” he said. “We asked the foreign office over there to provide us with a lawyer when all our money ran out. They have given us a public attorney lawyer so we do not have to pay for it any more.
“They seem to string these cases out to extract more money out of them.”
Conversations with his new lawyer have led Kevin to believe the end may be in sight.
“He is hoping that he should be out by June if all goes well,” said Gerald. “The problem is that if he comes out he has got nowhere to go. “He has got no clothes or accommodation, and only has the clothes he is wearing on his back. We will have to get him back to the UK somehow. “He can’t stay out there because he will not be able to work. They would both be targeted all the time.
”This should have been sorted a very, very long time ago, but the system out there is so slow and outdated.”
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has been working with the foreign office to put pressure on the Filipino authorities.
“It is extremely frustrating how unresponsive they have been to the pressure that we have applied,” he said.
“This has placed a huge amount of strain on Mr Taylor and his family both emotionally and financially. I am working with the UK government to apply as much pressure as we can.
“Apparently his lawyer now feels he has all the necessary information they need to progress which is why they are pushing for this latest hearing. We are now in the hands of the Filipino legal system.
“It has been an extremely distressing saga for the family and we will continue to offer our full support.”