An Australian mother of four daughters who planned to bring her brood to Disneyland to celebrate her release from detention in Thailand for stealing a bar mat was denied a U.S. visa so the trip has been scrubbed, reports today's Herald Sun.
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.
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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.