Aussie Expat ‘Long-Term’ Cocaine User, Court Told

DENPASAR

A New Zealand-born Australian man living in Bali had a long history of drug abuse before his arrest on the island in June, the Denpasar District Court has heard.

Angus McCaskill, 57, was apprehended at the upmarket Pepito supermarket in Tuban, near Ngurah Rai International Airport, following an all-night drinking binge during the World Cup. Police said he was carrying 3.58 grams of cocaine in five small packs. Another pack was empty and had been used.

McCaskill told The Bali Times after his arrest that he had made “the biggest mistake of my life.”

As his trial opened in Denpasar on Thursday, prosecutor Ida Ayu Ketut Retnasari Kusuma Dewi said McCaskill had been using the drug in Australia long before he came to Bali.

“The defendant had been consuming cocaine since 1996 in Australia and the defendant last consumed cocaine just before he was arrested,” she told a panel of three judges.

McCaskill — who changed his name from Willie Ra’re when he moved to Australia, where he was naturalised — faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of the offence.

It is understood that the ethnic Maori had been working in the financial-services sector and had attempted to establish an overseas money-transfer business in Bali.

He was a regular on the lively party scene in Bali, and frequently posted photographs of himself and his friends at such events, often wearing outlandish outfits.

McCaskill had initially denied the substance police found on him was a narcotic. He told them it was diabetes medicine. Police forensic tests revealed, however, that the material was cocaine.

The suspect has since apologised for breaking the law. He told The Bali Times in July: “I’m ashamed to have let Australia down. That’s what I feel.

“But that is not an excuse. I know what I did was wrong. It’s the biggest mistake of my life. I’m aware of the implications of what I’ve done and I’m taking responsibility for it.”

McCaskill is the latest in a string of Australians arrested in Bali for drugs violations. A 43-year-old man, Michael Sacatides, was arrested on arrival in Bali on October 1, allegedly carrying 1.7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and could face the death penalty. Three members of the Australian Bali Nine gang of drug smugglers are on death row.

Thursday’s hearing was adjourned until October 21, when the defence is expected to present its case.

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