Aussie Teen Detained over Marijuana
Police have arrested a 14-year-old Australian boy in Kuta on suspicion of drug possession.
The boy, named by police as Lewis Mason from Newcastle, who was allegedly carrying 6.9 grams of marijuana he bought for Rp250,000 (US$28), could face a 12-year prison term. He is understood to have been on holiday in Bali with his family and was arrested on Tuesday as he was returning to his hotel.
The Australian government said it hoping to get the boy home.
“As a government, we have our best people working on this case of this 14-year-old boy,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Friday.
“Our aim here is to provide every support we can to him and his family, and our aim is to get him back in Australia.”
Gillard said the matter was a sensitive one governed by Indonesian law and that she would not make any judgments on the case, but added she had been shocked by the incident and her heart went out to the teenager’s family.
“The only thing that will ever drive me or anybody else in government is what is in the best interests of this boy, but from a simple human perspective I’m sure we would all wish that this boy is released and returned to Australia as soon as possible,” she said.
Gillard said the boy was being kept separate from other detainees at Bali Police Headquarters in Denpasar and with access to his parents.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said consular officials were in close contact with Indonesian authorities and he had told Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs to make the matter its top priority.
“My heart goes out to the parents,” Rudd said. “I’m sure many Australians would feel exactly the same and we will do all within our power to support them and to get this young fella back home.”
Police said on Friday they were still questioning the teenager.
“The boy’s parents and a lawyer have come to see him. Australian officials have also arrived,” police spokesman Hariadi said.
The lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, said a psychologist had assessed the boy and found him to be in poor condition.
“He is still being interviewed at the police station. He is young, so he is under a lot of stress in detention,” Rifan said, adding that the boy’s parents had been present at the police interviews.
“The police are prioritising this case because he is a minor. By law, cases that involve minors should be dealt with quickly,” he said.
Children face the same courts as adults in Indonesia and are often imprisoned with adults although there is a separate children’s cell in Bali’s main Kerobokan jail.Filed under: Headlines