30 Jan 2007

Australian officials criticised over inaction to help woman in Vanuatu

2:48 pm on 30 January 2007

The father of a Sydney woman held in Vanuatu amid claims she assisted Australian conman Peter Foster has criticised Australian consular staff in Port Vila.

Steve Dench, father of Sacha Dench, waited until news that his daughter would be returning to Australia before he made public his anger at the lack of assistance she received from Australia's High Commission in Vanuatu.

Ms Dench had been held in Vanuatu amid claims she helped Foster escape from Fiji, where he was on bail.

Mr Dench told the AAP news agency that he wanted Australian officials in Vanuatu to check on his daughter to make sure she was OK, and to help her obtain her passport, which was taken by Vanuatu authorities.

He said because she was never charged by Vanuatu authorities, Ms Dench was told she did not qualify for assistance.