Prosecutors seek 8-month rehabilitation for Australian man charged with drug possession in Bali

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Prosecutors in Indonesia on Thursday demanded an eight-month medical rehabilitation for an Australian man charged with possessing methamphetamine on the tourist island of Bali, after his earlier charge of drug trafficking was dropped which would have carried the death penalty.

Troy Andrew Smith, from Port Lincoln in South Australia, was arrested on April 30 after police raided his hotel in Legian, a popular tourist spot near Kuta Beach, and seized 3.15 grams (0.1 ounce) of crystal methamphetamine inside a toothpaste container from his room. Police found a further 0.4 grams of the drug, along with a bong and a lighter in his desk drawer.

The arrest followed a tip that Smith had received a suspicious package containing toothpaste by mail from Australia. Under Indonesia’s tough drug laws, he faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

During the trial that began two weeks ago, the 49-year-old accountant told the court that he ordered the drugs from a man in Australia three weeks before his arrest and that he regretted his actions and apologized.

He said that he had used meth routinely daily to reduce depression and anxiety since 2020.

Authorities reduced the initial charge of drug trafficking, which carries a possible death penalty, to the less serious charge of drug use after a police drug assessment team determined he was a drug user.

At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, the lead prosecutor Isa Ulinnuha said in Denpasar District Court that although Smith “violated anti-narcotics laws and his action was contrary to the government’s program in eradicating narcotics,” he showed leniency because Smith repeatedly expressed remorse and bought the drugs for personal use.

“He was not involved in illicit narcotics trafficking and was a drug user in the moderate category,” Ulinnuha told the court, “Therefore, we demanded that he undergo inpatient medical rehabilitation for eight months.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disrespect the laws in Indonesia,” Smith told the court after prosecutors read out their demand.

The trial has been adjourned until July 4 for a verdict.

Smith’s Australian legal consultant, John McLeod, said his legal team had tried to push for a six-month medical rehabilitation sentence rather than a prison term. However, if judges grant the prosecutor’s demand, “We won’t be appealing, I don’t think so.”

Ida Bagus Gumilang Galih Sakti, one of Smith’s lawyers, said that he was “already happy” with the prosecutors who only demanded a rehabilitation for Smith to the court.

“I really hope if the decision is going to be less than eight months of (rehabilitation period),” he said, “But my focus now, our client can cure his addiction in recovery session instead of stay in the jail.”

Indonesia has very strict drug laws and convicted traffickers can be executed by a firing squad. More than 150 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes, and about a third of them are foreigners.

Eighteen people convicted of drug-related offenses have been executed under current President Joko Widodo, who took office in 2014.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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