Tue, Dec 06, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Teen caught with weed in Bali back home in Australia

AFP, SYDNEY

A 14-year-old Australian boy convicted of drug possession on the Indonesian island of Bali arrived back in Sydney yesterday after two months in detention.

The high-school student, whose fate had been the focus of intense diplomatic discussions between the neighbors, evaded the waiting media after landing at Sydney Airport in the morning.

However, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed his return.

“It is welcome news that the boy has now returned home to Australia following completion of his sentence,” a spokeswoman said.

The boy, who has worn a balaclava to hide his identity and whose family has requested privacy, was released from Indonesian custody on the weekend and left the island accompanied by his father.

The teen had admitted to carrying 6.9g of marijuana when he was arrested on Oct. 4 in the tourist area of Kuta, where he was on holiday with his parents.

On Nov. 25 he was sentenced to two months in jail for marijuana possession, but the court took into account the time he had already spent in immigration detention.

Prosecutors had asked for a three-month jail term for the boy under a drug possession charge that carries a maximum of two years’ imprisonment for minors.

His lawyers had attempted to have him acquitted, arguing he should undergo rehabilitation instead.

New South Wales state Premier Barry O’Farrell said the boy’s ordeal should serve as a warning to others traveling to Bali, long a popular tourist destination for Australians.

“When people travel to other countries, they need to understand the laws of those countries, particularly when it comes to issues around drugs, and they need to respect those laws,” he told reporters.

Several Australians have been arrested for drug possession on Bali in recent years, including two traffickers on death row and six serving life sentences in Kerobokan prison.

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