They’re Bigger Dopes Than We Think They Are
By Novar Caine
A friend in the trade disclosed this week that when she was talking to drug addict Angus McCaskill through bars in the holding cell at Denpasar District Court the other day the defendant was “livid” with your correspondent for writing a critical article about his narcotic-fuelled party lifestyle.
Was he expecting praise?
The 57-year-old-going-on-15 who still has an active Facebook page whose user-picture shows a tan man wearing an enormous blond wig and on the phone was this week sentenced to serve seven years in prison after being busted at Pepito supermarket in Tuban with five bags of cocaine on him totalling 3.84 grams, which he admitted was his.
Willie Ra’re, this New Zealand chameleon creature, is of Maori descent and emigrated to Australia, where he turned his back on the glorious culture and traditions of his homeland and gave himself his new Scottish moniker, along with becoming naturalised as an Australian. A reinvention.
When McCaskill ended up on our shores, he was involved in financial services of a hue that, shall we say, were less than translucent. Here, the middle-aged expat managed to reinvent himself all over again, and this time with the vigour of a man half his age as he flitted from one shiny jamboree to another, posting many pictures on his Facebook of the high times with fellow limelight-seeking foreign residents who have since run for the hills.
Until his arrest, McCaskill was a dangerously out-of-control train wreck just waiting to implode; his incarceration may be the saving of him.
Another alien guest of the state is also not pleased with this newspaper and its columnists. The slightest mention of her name in a straight news report brings explosive criticism from the Schlappers brigade. Throw in an actual critical remark, in an opinionated column, and there’s fireworks.
If the drug smuggler – that’s right: a court judged her thusly, no matter the perceived wrongs or errors in the trial – is granted clemency by President Yudhoyono and freed, it will naturally result in mountainous joy for the prisoner serving 20 years and her family and legions of supporters. In such a scenario, it’s a sure bet that the Schlappers train will keep on rolling in Australia until the story is beaten to death. We would hear incessant revelations about justice in Indonesia and life at Kerobokan Jail.
But the president may well decide not to pardon the convict, particularly at a time when arrests of foreign nationals over drugs in Bali are at an all-time high. Then Schapelle Corby would have no option but to serve out her time less remissions granted for good behaviour, of which she has already received ample. She may serve another decade at best. If this were to happen, the raging fury of the devotees would be unleashed as never before, nowhere more so than in the media.
These are but two of many prisoners in Bali, a large number of whom, Indonesian and foreign, are serving time for drugs offences. There is a reason Indonesia carries the death penalty for drugs crimes: drugs decimate society and kill. No matter how small your usage, it is part of the crime ring that brings drugs to the streets the world over. Indonesia should not have the death penalty, not for drugs or any other crime; but long spells in prison are required for those found guilty of smuggling, dealing or trafficking in narcotics, as well as people using, however innocent they regard their habit.
Bali is continually in the media spotlight because of its global tourist appeal; and as judges at the courts here regularly point out, drugs harm that image. McCaskill and Corby – she is guilty until, somehow, if ever, proven otherwise of bringing a bale of marijuana into Bali – have played their disgraceful roles in causing disrepute to this island and they are rightly paying the price.
Three other Australians in Bali may pay with their lives, unless the Supreme Court commutes their sentences to life or less. It should.
Every new arrest in Bali of a foreigner on drugs charges draws exasperated questioning: Will they never learn? It seems the answer to that is no, that desperate situations drive people to do almost anything, despite extraordinarily high risks.
They shouldn’t expect fawning press coverage, however.
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