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Leslie 'relieved to be out'

Michelle Leslie ... deported from Indonesia because her visa expired
Convicted drug user Michelle Leslie has spoken publicly after her release from a Bali jail yesterday.

The South Australian model is expected to arrive back in Australia today.

On Friday Leslie was given a three-month jail sentence for ecstasy use but the court took into account the time she had already served in prison.

She was deported from Indonesia yesterday and travelled to Singapore for a reunion with her family.

She has expressed relief to be out of jail.

"I'm so exhausted, I'm really excited to be going home, and I'm just really relieved to be out of Indonesia," she said.

"I'm really thankful to all the people who've supported me and sent emails and letters and phone call during my time in Bali."

  • Michelle Leslie Case Information

  • Leslie expected to fly into Sydney

    Convicted drug user Michelle Leslie is expected to arrive in Sydney on Sunday after her release from a Bali prison.

    The 24-year-old Australian model was freed from Kerobokan prison on Saturday after serving three months for ecstasy possession.

    A Bali court on Friday found her guilty of using ecstasy and sentenced her to three months in jail, which covered the time she had spent in the prison.

    Leslie is expected to fly into Sydney International Airport following a reunion with family in Singapore.

    Leslie, who began wearing Muslim garb after her arrest and claimed she had converted to Islam 18 months ago, emerged from the prison heavily made-up and dressed in tight jeans, a tank-top, thongs and designer sunglasses.

    She paused to smile for cameramen and photographers, but kept silent as two minders led her through the media crush to a van which took her to the immigration office near Bali airport.

    Meanwhile, a close friend of Leslie says the convicted drug user will marry her millionaire boyfriend now she has been released from prison.

    Friend Norah Cullen told News Ltd newspapers that getting engaged was a priority for Leslie and car dealership heir Scott Sutton.

    "They were planning on it before," she said.

    "Michelle's really excited about seeing her parents and Scott. She wants to be with loved ones."

    All eyes on model's return
    >A large media contingent is awaiting the return to Australia of model Michelle Leslie, released from a Bali jail yesterday after being convicted of drug use.

    Leslie arrived in Singapore last night after leaving Denpasar, and was expected to return to Australia today.

    News crews have been waiting at Sydney International Airport, and reporters are also at the airport in Adelaide, where Leslie's family lives.

    Leslie was thought to have been on a Singapore Airlines flight which landed in Sydney at 10.45am, but she has not been sighted.

    There are also suggestions she may not arrive back until Tuesday.

    Neither her lawyer nor family spokesman has been available for comment today.

    In Singapore overnight, Leslie spoke for the first time since her release from prison.

    "I'm so exhausted, I'm really excited to be going home and I'm just really relieved to be out of Indonesia," she said.

    "And I'm really thankful to all the people that have supported me and sent me emails and letters and phone calls during my time in Bali."

    Leslie was caught in bali on August 20 after being found with two ecstasy tablets in her handbag outside a Kuta dance party.

    During her trial she had argued that she had innocently received the ecstasy from a friend named Mia, believing it was medicine for anxiety attacks.

    She was convicted on Friday and sentenced to three months in jail, but was released yesterday because she had already served that time while awaiting trial.

    The model has vowed that, once back in Australia, she will speak publicly about her arrest, after allegations police covered up the fact she was with the sons of powerful Indonesian families on the night of her arrest.

    AAP

    Leslie won't be punished by her peers, nor will she profit

    Three strikes but not out: Michelle Leslie should be able to resume her modelling career once a 'return strategy' has been planned.
    With the prospect of earning money from the sale of her harrowing story in doubt, model Michelle Leslie can take comfort in a regular income from her old job in the fashion business.

    As soon as the Bali court brought down its guilty verdict, the Australian rag trade rallied around Leslie, promising work and support.

    Her model agency, Chic, said inquiries began pouring in soon after the 24-year-old's fate was known, but no bookings would be taken until a "return strategy" was discussed with Leslie and her management.

    Despite her drug conviction, it appears Leslie will not be punished by her fashion peers.

    But she will not profit from the experience either, Chic co-owner Kathy Ward said.

    "She's made a terrible mistake but we, as an agency, like any parent, have to be there to support her," Ms Ward said. "We have received inquiries regarding work for her but we can't book anything until we've had the chance to sit down with Michelle.

    "She's not the type of girl to profit over this drama or her conviction. She'll just be grateful to be home. It's been a hard, hard few months for her."

    Comparisons to supermodel Kate Moss and the recent cocaine scandal that threatened her career were dismissed by Australian fashion figures who have worked with Leslie and plan to do so again.

    Covers designer Barry Taffs, who featured Leslie as the face of his last summer campaign, said feedback about her photographs for the brand had "been sympathetic to the plight of a young woman in the wrong place at the wrong time".

    "The fact she can come home is delightful," Mr Taffs said. "If I needed to use her look again, I wouldn't hesitate to employ her."

    Anthony Nader, hairstylist and owner of Raw hair salon in Darlinghurst, hired Leslie as a hair model for his entry in this year's Australian Hair Fashion Awards, judged in London last month.

    The finalist for Australian and NSW hairdresser of the year said: "Michelle's got a look that remains in demand. She'll come home bigger and better than ever, despite what's happened to create this mess."

    Source: The Sun-Herald

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