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Swedish socialite could face longer sentence

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10:54 CEST+02:00
A Swedish-born socialite, jailed for nearly four years in Australia in March for plotting to murder two witnesses in her boyfriend's drug trial, could face a longer sentence.

23-year-old Charlotte Lindström was sentenced in March to three years and 10 months in prison for offering AU$200,000 dollars (US$185,000) to an undercover policeman to kill two men who were scheduled to give evidence against her boyfriend.

The Australian prosecutor has appealed the sentence handed to Lindström, a regular in the social pages of Sydney's newspapers, labelling it "too lenient."

Prosecutor David Arnott, argued at New South Wales Court of Appeal on Friday that the judge, Justice Stephen Rothman, had made a mistake in awarding her a 60 percent discount on the nine and a half year sentence passed for the offence.

Lindstöm was reported at the time to have been "under the spell" of her boyfriend, Steven Spaliviero, a man with a long criminal past.

She pleaded guilty to the offence and apologized to the court for her actions. When passing sentence Justice Rothman recognized her remorse and her cooperation with the authorities in the face of death threats.

"She will spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulders," he said.

Rothman referred to psychological reports which showed that Lindström was suffering from anorexia. Lindström appeared at the court of appeal on July 4th clad in a bullet-proof vest and looking very pale and extremely thin, according to Australian press reports.

"She has an eating disorder and she is a vegetarian. They weigh her in jail and she is taking a course in cooking but you can imagine the problems you have making food when you have an eating disorder," said Helena Melin Hultgren of the Swedish embassy.

The court of appeal is expected to reserve its decision, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

As Lindström has been in custody awaiting trial since May 2007 she would become eligible for parole in May 2009.

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