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Aussie Grandma's Death Sentence Quashed By Malaysian Court

Maria Exposto has had her sentence to be hanged for drug trafficking quashed in Malaysia after 18 months on death row.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 55,  learnt on Tuesday the death sentence she received would be overturned by Malaysia's Final Court of Appeal.

The woman, from Sydney, was convicted of trafficking more than one kilogram of crystal methamphetamine -- also known as 'ice' -- through Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2014.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto
Exposto arriving at court in 2015. Image: Getty Images.

She was initially found not guilty of the charges, after a court trial.

Exposto said she was scammed by an online 'boyfriend' who called himself 'Captain Daniel Smith', who purported to be US solider stationed in Afghanistan.

Exposto claimed she and Smith had planned to meet in Shanghai, but he failed to show up once she had arrived.

During her time in Shanghai, Exposto became friends with a stranger, who she claimed asked her to take a black backpack with her to Melbourne.

Esposto agreed, saying she believed the bag contained only clothing.

On her way back to Australia, Exposto transited through Kuala Lumpur.

During routine security checks, officers searched her bag -- and found bags of meth hidden inside.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto (C) is escorted by Malaysian customs officials as she arrives court in Sepang on March 26, 2015. Image: Getty

She was found not guilty of the crime in 2017, but prosecutors successfully appealed the verdict. Exposto was then sentenced to death in 2018.

However, pending legislation in Malaysia to remove the compulsory death penalty for some convictions led to another last-ditch legal effort to save Exposto's life.

Initially, the government announced the death penalty would be removed completely, but then back flipped on the decision, saying the mandatory death penalty for certain convictions would be repealed.

This means the death penalty can still be imposed, but at the discretion of a judge.

Exposto was initially found not guilty of the crimes. Image: Getty

The compulsory death penalty for 11 offences in Malaysia -- including drug trafficking, murder, treason and waging war against the King -- is set to be abolished under the changes.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au