Julian Ponder jailed for six years for Bali drug possession

  • 29 January 2013
  • From the section UK

A British man has been jailed for six years in Bali for drug offences.

Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, was cleared of smuggling but was convicted of possessing 23g of cocaine which carried a maximum sentence of life.

Ponder was one of three Britons detained after Lindsay Sandiford, 56, from Cheltenham, was arrested for smuggling cocaine into Bali last year.

Sandiford was sentenced to death and is suing the UK Foreign Office for not supporting her appeal.

The two other Britons were also cleared of trafficking and received sentences of four years and one year each.

Prosecutors in Bali had sought a seven-year prison term for Mr Ponder.

Judge Gunawan Tri Budiono also ordered him to pay a fine of one billion rupiah (£65,000).

Ponder's lawyer Arie Budiman Soenardi said he would not advise his client to appeal: "(The sentence) is quite light, not far from what the prosecutors had asked, so we will soon advise our client to accept it."

Sandiford, 56, from Cheltenham, was arrested on drugs charges in May 2012 and sentenced to death by firing squad last week by a panel of judges at the district court in Denpasar, Bali.

She claimed she had been coerced into carrying a suitcase into the country by criminals who threatened her family.

Legal charity Reprieve said the UK government was in breach of its obligations to Sandiford as a British citizen.

Reprieve said Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, had no money for an appeal after exhausting her family's finances to pay for a lawyer for her trial.

Charitable donations

The charity said the appeal involved filing a complicated legal document in Indonesian, which she does not speak, by 12 February.

Reprieve, and solicitors Leigh Day & Co, have filed a judicial review in the UK on Ms Sandiford's behalf against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Image caption Lindsay Sandiford will appeal against her sentence of death by firing squad

This argues that: "In failing to make arrangements for an adequate lawyer to represent the claimant's interests the defendant is acting unlawfully, in breach of its obligations as a matter of EU law, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that she does not face the death penalty, is not subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, is not tortured and receives a fair trial."

Reprieve said Sandiford was relying on charitable donations for basic provisions such as food and water.

Sandiford was sentenced to death despite the prosecution seeking a 15-year sentence.

Harriet McCulloch, from Reprieve, said: "Everyone knows that capital punishment means that those without the capital get the punishment. Lindsay's poverty means that she has ended up sentenced to death after a manifestly unfair trial."

Sandiford's MP, Martin Horwood, called on the Foreign Office to review its policy on Britons facing the death penalty abroad.

The Foreign Office said the UK government did not fund legal representation abroad but Sandiford's case was being dealt with through diplomatic channels.

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