‘Do not do stupid things’: Australian convicted of drug offences in Indonesia avoids death penalty

01-Mar-2019 Intellasia | SMH | 6:00 AM Print This Post

An Australian man has been sentenced by a Bali court to five years and four months in jail, more than six months after being arrested while in possession of nearly 12 grams of cocaine.

Brendon Luke Johnsson, 43, from Brisbane, and his partner Remi Purwanti, 43, an Indonesian national, had initially faced a possible death sentence if convicted on more serious charges under Indonesia’s strict drug laws.

But the chief judge in the case, I Ketut Kamiasa, said on Wednesday evening that the couple had been found “convincingly guilty of ownership, possession, keeping and providing narcotics”.

The lesser charge the couple were found guilty of carried a minimum penalty of five years’ jail and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

“We sentence the defendants Brendon Luke Johnsson and Remi Purwanti to five years and four months prison time and fine them 800 million Rupiah ($A80,000) or two months [more] prison time [if the couple can't pay their fines],” the judge said.

Outside the courtroom, Johnsson’s clearly relieved stepfather Ashley Robinson repeatedly thanked the Indonesian justice system for giving his stepson a second chance at liferather than imposing the death penalty.

“Brendon has been addicted to drugs since he was 16, we always knew we were going to get a phone call and we did. It could have been hospital, it could have been like this one, arrested, or it could have been worse. So he has to pay the price for what he has done. He has to get his head down now, do his time, be a good prisoner and be productive in there,” Robinson said.

“I would just like to thank the Indonesian government for their assistance, the way they have looked after Brendon. Obviously he hasn’t touched drugs since August the fourth, this is the first time he has been clean since he was 16. The way I see it and his mother, there is a silver lining. This gives him an opportunity to do his time, come back to Australia, be a better person, be productive and have a good rest of his life.

“The Indonesians have given him a chance to get on with the rest of his life, after he has served his time for breaking the law. He is a different person, he is in prison but he is a different person. He’s thinking clearly.”

Despite the high profile 2015 execution by Indonesian authorities of Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Johnsson is the latest in a string of Australian found guilty in recent years of drugs offences on the tourist island.

“I hope that people watching in Australia do not do stupid things like Brendon did here, because there are consequences…I would not like to see another family go through what we have been through,” Robinson said.

Johnsson, who spoke briefly after the sentencing to thank his family and his lawyers, will serve his time in Bali’s infamous Kerobokan jail.

Johnsson and Remi had been arrested by police in August 2018 after another woman, Bena Silvia Magusta, was arrested by Bali police for possession of four clips of cocaine and revealed she had bought the drugs from the couple.

The Australian man had been living in Bali for about four years and is described as a design specialist.



Category: Indonesia

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