Prime Minister intervenes on boy’s behalf
The world has MUCH bigger issues….get real. -UA
AN Australian boy arrested in Bali for marijuana possession has admitted to previous substance abuse, opening the way for court-ordered treatment rather than jailing.
The revelation came as Indonesian police recommended his charging as a juvenile addicted user, which draws a maximum six months in jail rather than six years for possession.
Colonel Mulyardi, the director of Bali police narcotics division, told news site Detik.com yesterday: “We use Article 128 — that’s the correct one because
he is still a child and he is a user.” It is understood that the police preliminary investigation has been completed.
Colonel Mulyardi said the boy would stay at police headquarters in Denpasar because there was no juvenile facility available.
Article 128 of Indonesia’s Narcotics Law leaves it open for a court not to impose jail.
Psychiatrist Denny Thong, who examined the 14-year-old last Friday, has recommended he be treated for the “social disease” of substance abuse, not punished by imprisonment. “He should be kept away from adults and hard-core addicts,” Dr Thong told The Australian yesterday.
“He could be in his parents’ care, but I don’t have the authority for that. He’s still young and has a bright future.”
Julia Gillard yesterday revealed she had spoken directly to the boy — arrested last Tuesday allegedly carrying 3.6g of marijuana bought from a Kuta street dealer — on a mobile phone handed through the bars of his cell by Australia’s ambassador in Jakarta, Greg Moriarty. The Prime Minister told the boy her government was doing “everything it could” to free him.
Ms Gillard’s intervention in the boy’s case was followed by the release of a joint statement with Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on the crackdown in Cairo, expressing “deep concern at the violence and resulting loss of life and injuries”. She was accused of engaging in an “unseemly rush for publicity” alongside Mr Rudd over the Bali boy that could jeopardise negotiations on the case between Indonesian and Australian officials.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said she understood why Ms Gillard would talk to the boy, but not why she would then alert the media. “I urge the Prime Minister not to engage in what appears to be unseemly competition with the Foreign Minister for publicity over this case which could be counter-productive to the boy’s interests,” Ms Bishop said.
Those close to the boy’s case believe the quickest way to secure his release is to ensure his lawyers, family and Australian diplomats can deal quietly with Indonesian authorities. Mr Moriarty visited the boy again yesterday and held talks with Indonesian officials.
Dr Thong, who treats Australian drug convict Schapelle Corby and some of the Bali Nine in Kerobokan prison, yesterday handed his report and recommendations to the boy’s lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, who requested Friday’s examination.
Dr Thong said the teenager, who was holidaying in Bali with his parents and a friend at the time of his arrest, admitted to previous substance abuse but only marijuana and “only on social occasions with friends sometimes”.
“Of course he likes it,” Dr Thong said. “It’s a social disease. His substance abuse is simple, it’s not multi (drug).”