Bali Prosecutors Drop Death Penalty for Alleged British Drug Smuggler
Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a 56-year-old British housewife accused of attempting to smuggle 4.7 kilograms of cocaine into Bali, the office announced on Thursday.
Prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan instead pushed for a 15-year sentence for Lindsay June Sandiford, explaining that the woman was “already elderly” and should be spared the death penalty. She also faces Rp 2 billion ($207,210) in fines or an additional six months in jail.
Customs officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport allegedly found 4.7 kilograms of cocaine lining Sandiford’s suitcases. The drugs had an estimated street value of more than Rp 23 billion, police said.
Sandiford told police that a fellow British national, Julian Anthony Ponder, threatened to kill her son if she didn’t try to smuggle the cocaine through customs. She allegedly acquired the drugs in Thailand with Ponder, his wife Rachel Lisa Dougall and Paul Beales.
Sandiford testified that Dougall purchased the drugs, Beales packed them in her suitcases and Ponder planned to accept the delivery in Bali. The four then boarded separate flights out of Bangkok to avoid raising suspicion, police said.
In a separate trial, a panel of judges led by Judge John Tony Hutauruk sentenced Dougall to one year in prison, following a lenient recommendation from prosecutor Putu Astawa. The prosecution charged Dougall with failing to report a drug-related crime, explaining that investigators failed to discover any evidence that Dougall took part in planning the smuggling attempt.
Her husband faces the death penalty as the alleged mastermind behind the drug smuggling scheme.
Beales was sentenced to four years in jail on Wednesday for possession of 3.1 grams of hashish. Nandagopal Akkineni, an Indian national arrested in the bust, was sentenced to five years on Tuesday for possession of 279 grams of Ecstasy.
Sandiford plans to take the stand in her own defense, attorney Ezra Karo Karo said.
Her trial will resume on Jan. 3, Judge Amser Simanjuntak said.
“If the defendant does not present a defense, the court will proceed with the reading of the verdict,” Amser said.