Barely 24 hours after the execution of two Australians over drug smuggling charges in Indonesia, a Sydney man facing the death penalty in China has had his trial moved forward to next week.
New Zealand-born Peter Gardner, 25, has been detained in China on suspicion of drug smuggling since he was arrested on November 8.
He is accused of trying to smuggle 40kg of methamphetamine out of the country after customs officials found the drugs in two bags during check-in at Guangzhou airport.
On Thursday, Australian media reported Gardner’s trial will begin on May 7.
His legal team had been awaiting a decision on whether his case will go to trial.
If convicted, Gardner could face execution by firing squad.
His lawyer, Craig Tuck, has been travelling between New Zealand and China to work with Gardner’s Chinese defence team.
Mr Tuck has been contacted for comment about the trial’s development.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been contacted for comment about what kind of representations consular officials have had with Chinese authorities about Gardner’s case.
It’s understood Gardner, who lives in Sydney with his family, travelled to China on his New Zealand passport.
His travelling partner, Sydney woman Kalynda Davis, 22, was also detained before she was unexpectedly released in December after a month in custody without charge.
Gardner’s family have said they won’t comment to the media while the case proceeds.
The trial’s announcement comes the day after Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and six other foreign drug offenders were executed by firing squad in Indonesia, prompting Australia to withdraw its ambassador.