Mickey Mouse Justice for Mom Who Wanted to Bring Kids to Disneyland
Annice Smoel, 36, of Melbourne, hoped a visit to the Magic Kingdom would help make up for her family's Thai nightmare, but the U.S. embassy denied her application for a non-immigrant visa because of the conviction for stealing a bar mat in Phuket.
"They are going to be devastated, absolutely devastated by this," Smoel said of her girls, who are ages 6 to 12. "They've been having nightmares and coming into mum's bed at night since I got back. It would have been the perfect way to take their minds off all of what's happened."
Her original six-month jail term in Thailand was suspended after she agreed to plea guilty to the theft. But that bid for freedom is what cost her a chance to visit Disneyland as the U.S. embassy in Melbourne informed her Thursday she could be barred from traveling to this country for up to seven years.
The length of her ban apparently lies in how Thai officials categorize her conviction. If it is deemed a misdemeanor and not felony charge, the U.S. may grant her a reprieve that would allow her girls to see Disneyland before they are grown. They were originally going to visit the resort in May--before Smoel got trapped in Thailand over what she swears was a prank.