Australian Teen to Stand Trial Next Week

DENPASAR

A 14-year-old Australian being held in Bali for alleged drug possession is facing three charges, and may stand trial as soon as next week.

The authorities have said that the trial will be kept as low-key as possible to avoid “intimidating” the youth, with judges and prosecutors wearing batik shirts instead of formal robes and the proceedings closed to the public. And instead of the usual three judges in adult trials, there may be just one hearing the case.

The boy, who has been named as Lewis Mason, is from Morisset Park, south of Newcastle, New South Wales.

He was arrested on October 4 with 6.9 grams of marijuana. He had allegedly bought the drug from an unidentified dealer in Kuta and was returning to the hotel on Jl Padma where he was staying with his parents when he was arrested.

On Tuesday Mason was formally handed over by police to prosecutors, and three charges were filed, opening the way for a trial to begin. The most serious of the charges faces a possible 12-year sentence, though this is often halved for juveniles.

A large crowd of reporters surrounded Mason and his parents as they arrived at the prosecutor’s office in Denpasar, and his lawyer, Mohammad Rifan, later said that the teenager had been frightened by the attention.

“It’s like a nightmare for him,” he said.

Amser Simanjuntak has already been appointed as chief judge for the trial, but he said that preparations would take at least three days, and that the trial was unlikely to begin before Tuesday.

Chief prosecutor I Gusti Gede Putu Atmaja said that although efforts would be made to expedite the process the trial could still take several weeks, adding that the court would be closed and efforts made to ensure the defendant was not unduly intimidated.

“We’re going to wear batik to make it less frightening to the child,” he said.

After the hearing at the prosecutor’s office Mason was returned to the immigration detention centre in Jimbaran where he has been held since being moved from Police headquarters in Denpasar on Saturday.

He is now being held in a 35-square-metre room with access to a PlayStation games console. His parents are allowed regular access.

“Considering his age, we have decided to move him to the immigration detention while waiting for the prosecutors to process the dossier and bring it to the court,” Taswem Tarib of the Bali Legal and Human Rights Department said.

“Indonesia is a lawful country, with a sense of humanity. We protect children’s rights. We consider that it is impossible to move him to Kerobokan Penitentiary because of the limited space and unfavourable conditions,” he added.

Southern Bali does not have a specialist detention centre for juveniles, and 11 underage Indonesian citizens are being housed alongside adults in the main Kerobokan Prison, nine of them sharing a single 15-square metre room.

Tarib dismissed claims that Mason had received special treatment as a foreigner.

“This is not a discrimination against Indonesian child prisoners,” he said, but he pointed out that the immigration detention centre was designed to handle foreign inmates.

Australia’s foreign minister Kevin Rudd welcomed the boy’s transfer, which came after reports that he could be moved to Kerobokan.

“We are also grateful for the intervention by the Indonesian authorities to ensure the boy has been held in appropriate detention facilities,” he said, adding that despite the efforts to fast-track the case and to avoid the customary four-month wait for trial, the process could still take some time.

“We respect Indonesia’s laws and will continue to work with the Indonesian legal processes,” he said.

Indonesian officials, meanwhile, have denied that there is any connection between the expedited trial process for Mason, and the extradition to Indonesia of a suspected Australian paedophile who is alleged to have abused boys while working as a teacher at an international school in Jakarta.

Tommy Watiliu, deputy chief of the national police’s special crimes unit, said that no deal had been done.

“This is nothing to do with that. This case is simply based on an extradition agreement with Australia,” he said.

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13 Responses to “Australian Teen to Stand Trial Next Week”

  1. Ross Says:

    If Indonesia let this little drug dealer go they will be seen as an easy target by drug gangs and will use younger couriers and dealers, this guy deserves prison he has been in serious trouble in Australia and it is time he pays!

  2. milan Says:

    35 square and play station? ridiculous! scare him off!

  3. terri Says:

    why would any parent take there child to Bali knowing he has a drug problem. You know the rules kid.

  4. Ausi Say Says:

    Leve him there to rot. No special treatment for this spoilt little rich kid. He is a druggie and he should be punished.

  5. Andrea Says:

    This is certainly a sad case for this boy. But today in the australian media all they are telling us is about how this family has just signed a contract with the media and now will make $200 and $300 thousand from this story. So what does that tell people, go to bali commit a crime and become famous and rich. If this was my child is would be his welfare i would be concerned about not the profit they stand to make from this.

  6. joe Says:

    at first i felt sorry for him.now his family will profit on him breaking the laws of your country by selling his story for over 200000 dollars to media,the australian media went out of there way to keep his name out of public view .now the family does this.he deserves no special treatment when he goes to trial…..do the crime .do the time.send the message loud and clear ….respect your country laws

  7. Dave Says:

    His parents are making a profit out of this in the tune of $300 000 Aud Television rights.

    Use drugs in Bali and make money will be the message.

    Thr RICH win again

  8. Robyn Moore Says:

    What is going on in Morisset Park, Newcastle if you have to take your kid to Bali to get away from drugs?

  9. Dan Says:

    This boy did the wrong thing. Do not be weak Indonesia, if you let him off with minor punishment then all Aussie youth will buy drugs in Bali because they can get away with it. Organized crime people will use children to transport the drugs in and out of your country because they will get minor punishment compared to adults. Things will become worse if he is allowed freedom or minor punishment.
    Send the message that Indonesia says no to drugs.

  10. Dan Says:

    Also, after court when he was in the van to go back to detention, he made the gang symbol with his two arms crossed and his fingers out. This boy is a thug with no respect. He thinks it is all a joke and he will return to Aussie and laugh at Indonesia with his friends. This young man needs to be put away. He is laughing at Indonesia law.

  11. frank Says:

    frank

    frankstevens1905@hotmail.com

    I have to agree with Dan,this country, my country Australia as for deterence is a joke, a slap in the face of the honest working Joe and Mary citizen,who go about their daily lives and do the right thing.While Joe and Mary are suffering their loss and the intrusion into the sanctity of their home. The culprits when in jail enjoy breakfast in bed, onsuite toilet, tv,.big jugs of soup at morning break, meals that are as good as you will find in any hotel. I know all this, as I have been there, in jail and it’s a joke(fine default)Australian crims do not laugh in indonesian jails

  12. Pondainwonda Says:

    When you walk through those gates in the airport it clearly states do drugs expect the firing squad… In so many wordsit tells you all drugs will cost you… And that is the bottom line DO THE CRIME DO THE TIME sorry sad but true sometimes you need to hit rock bottom as much as it sadness me it’s how life goes we can’t be told ..Sorry Hunnish but I he you learn…..

  13. Pondainwonda Says:

    Hope to see him come home and hope he learnt a valuable question … and most of all hope he appreciates he’s beautiful parents…….

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