Drug Charges against Australian Woman Cut

DENPASAR ~ Prosecutors dropped drug possession charges this week against an Australian woman and recommended she be sentenced to three months’ jail on the lesser charge of drug use.

Prosecutors said they accepted evidence that Michelle Condon, 35, was a drug addict.

Condon had faced five years for possession but could be released in weeks if the judges decide to accept the prosecution’s recommendation.

The Australian was allegedly carrying 0.2 grams of crystal methamphetamine when she was arrested in Bali in November last year.

Condon had told the court on Tuesday that she had bought the drug for Rp200,000 rupiah (US$21) from a dealer.

Prosecutor Nurlaeli told the Denpasar District Court that her team had failed to find evidence to back charges of possession.

“There are witnesses, from police and from other sides, who said that she had obtained the goods from a man identified as Wayan. Because there is evidence that there was a transfer of the goods (to her), she cannot be said to be the owner of the goods,” Nurlaeli said.

According to a medical examination, Condon was a long-time addict, supporting the suspicion that she was a regular user.

Nurlaeli recommended that judges also fine her Rp3 million or face an additional three months in jail.

Judge Wayan Merta said the trial would resume next week to hear the verdict.

Condon is the latest Australian arrested in Indonesia for drugs.

Six of her compatriots have been sentenced to death for drug trafficking. They are members of the so-called “Bali Nine” gang who were convicted of smuggling heroin on Bali. The other three were given life sentences.

Australian Schapelle Corby was convicted of trafficking marijuana into Bali and jailed for 20 years.

Indonesia has been handing down stiff penalties for drug traffickers and users, with 35 other convicts on death row for narcotics offences.

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