A New Zealander allegedly found with drugs in Bali could face the death penalty if found guilty of trafficking and the New Zealand Government should get involved, Schapelle Corby's former lawyer says.
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Police carried out an "ambush" last week and reportedly found MDMA, marijuana and hashish at a villa in North Kuta where Leeza Tracey Ormsby, 37, was staying. The villa was searched after Ormsby was allegedly found with a joint in her bag.
Kerry Smith-Douglas told Radio New Zealand the New Zealand Government needed to get involved, because the maximum penalty for drug offending in Indonesia is death.
Unless a prisoner had $100 a week to pay for the use of a bed, Ormsby would be sharing the ground with rats, Smith-Douglas told RNZ.
Australian media were expecting a press conference today, where Ormsby would appear publicly.
Police did not announce the arrest right away, which could suggest additional investigations were under way.
The details of the arrest were made public only yesterday and it is not yet clear if Ormsby has been charged.
Ross Bell, of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, said it was well-known that drug laws in Southeast Asia were some of the toughest in the world.
Both cannabis and methamphetamine were classed as Group One drugs in Bali, which meant they were considered highly addictive and therefore dangerous.
Possession of a Group One drug in Bali could lead to a sentence of life imprisonment. Trafficking a Group One drug could lead to the death penalty.
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was aware of the arrest, a spokesman said.
"The consul from the New Zealand embassy in Jakarta is providing consular support and has visited the New Zealander," he said.
The embassy's role was to monitor her welfare and ensure that she had the same rights as other detainees in Indonesia, he said.
According to a police document seen by Fairfax Media, Ormsby was allegedly found with a joint inside her bag.
When police later searched the villa, they say they found 27 grams of hashish and 132 grams of MDMA. An electric scale, tape and plastic wrappers were also allegedly found at the villa.
A local police source said it was possible she was dealing drugs.
"Judging from the evidence, it's possible she's dealing. If [she's] just a user, why do you need a scale?" the source said.
It is understood Ormsby lives in Paddington, Sydney.
According to her lawyer, Ary B Soenardi, she is unemployed and arrived in Bali just a few days before she was arrested on February 12. She was in Bali to visit a friend.
Ormsby, who was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, was arrested at a North Kuta village in Denpasar for possession, Denpasar drug squad chief Agus Tri Waluyo said.
NEW ZEALAND V BALI
All of the substances allegedly found on Ormsby are classed as Group One drugs in Indonesia, and carry the stiffest penalties. In New Zealand, however, the case is vastly different.
Group on Drugs in Indonesia are the equivalent to New Zealand's Class A drugs - very high risk.
But in New Zealand, cannabis is a Class C drug, MDMA class B, and methamphetamine Class A.
According to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, it is an offense to use, possess, cultivate or deal in illegal drugs.
Conviction of possession of a Class A drug in New Zealand can result in six months jail time, and/or a $1000 fine.
Class B and C - three months and/or $500 fine.
Supply or manufacture is taken more seriously: Such a conviction relating to a Class A drug can incur life imprisonment.
Class B - 14 years, and Class C, eight years imprisonment.
Bell said it was well known that drug laws in south-east Asia were some of the toughest in the world, and Indonesian laws were some of the most ''draconian in that region''.
Possession of a Group One drug in Bali could lead to a sentence of life imprisonment. Dealing or trafficking a Group One drug could lead to the death penalty.
People who used drugs in Indonesia could be legally detained for up to nine months before sentencing, although in practice most are detained for between two and four months.
The International Drug Policy Consortium found the Indonesian prison system is dangerously over-crowded, creating a high-risk environment for the transmission of HIV and tuberculosis.
Furthermore, the Indonesian authorities are ready to make an example of foreigners who use illegal drugs in their jurisdiction.
Off charge sheet: Leeza Tracey Ormsby, Sydney resident and NZ national, arrested for drug possess in Bali.pic.twitter.com/uxHXZimfiJ
- Robert Ovadia (@RobertOvadia) February 19, 2014
- © Fairfax NZ News
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