Drug Teen’s Parents Deny Media Deal

DENPASAR

The parents of an Australian teenager on trial in Bali for drug possession have denied selling rights to his story to a media network for a six-figure sum.

The 14-year-old boy is facing a maximum of six years in prison after being caught last month with nearly seven grams of marijuana in Kuta, where he was on holiday with his parents.

“There are so many journalists from Australia here looking for stories, they simply make them up,” the boy’s parents said in a statement on Monday.

Australia’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that the boy’s parents had sold exclusive rights to their son’s story to the Nine television network for between A$200,000 (US$208,000) and A$300,000.

The network spokesman David Hurley said there was “categorically no deal.” There are concerns that such a deal could hurt the boy’s chances of escaping a jail sentence.

The statement said that the boy’s father was a “successful businessman and does not need the money that has been suggested.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the deal was clinched by a celebrity agent and included an interview with the network’s 60 Minutes current affairs programme and Woman’s Day magazine.

A 60 Minutes team was reportedly preparing to fly to Bali to interview the boy after Friday’s hearing, in which prosecutors will recommend a sentence.

Detained since October 4, the boy is hoping to evade a jail sentence by proving he was already addicted to the drug when he came to Indonesia and should instead be sentenced to rehabilitation.

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