Drug-accused Kiwi press conference delayed

Last updated 14:24 21/02/2014
Leeza Tracey Ormsby

DEEP TROUBLE: Leeza Tracey Ormsby.

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Police in Bali have reportedly cancelled a press conference about the arrest of drug-accused Kiwi Leeza Tracey Ormsby.


Do you know Leeza Ormsby or know anything about her case? Email us on newstips@stuff.co.nz


Australian media report the conference - in which police were expected to parade Ormsby - has been postponed and police were now saying it may happen tomorrow.

Ormsby, 37, who was born in Rotorua and lives in Sydney, was arrested at Askara Villa in North Kuta. Police said she had marijuana on her. Police say they raided another villa nearby where they found 132 grams of ecstasy and 27 grams of hashish, along with an electric scale, tape and plastic wrappers.

A close family member living in Western Australia told Fairfax Media he did not want to comment on Ormsby's situation.

"No I can't at this stage. As a family we're going to get together and decide what we're going to say and who we're going to say it to. Sorry about that."

The supervisor of the villa where Ormsby was arrested said she wept during the raid and repeatedly told them, "I don't know".

Ormsby, also known as Leeza Morrison, had a key to the villa where police uncovered the drugs, a Kuta resort worker said.

About six officers, apparently acting on a tipoff, approached Ormsby as she went to enter the villa. It had been rented for three nights by an Australian man known only as Azaria, the Herald Sun reported today.

Azaria and his girlfriend flew home the night before the raid on Wednesday last week.

The villa's supervisor, Gede Wijaya, was on duty at the time and police asked him to witness the search.

When police found what looked like hashish in Ormsby's handbag, and asked her what it was, she replied, "I don't know, I don't know", Wijaya told the Sun.

Throughout the discovery of the drugs Ormsby maintained her ignorance.

She appeared to be crying, Wijaya said.

Ormsby, who was born in Rotorua and lives in Sydney, was arrested but has not yet been charged.

Wijaya said he was unsure if there was a party at the villa the night before Ormsby's arrest but said "several friends" had visited the Australian man in the hours before his departure.

According to her lawyer, Ary B Soenardi, Ormsby is unemployed and arrived in Bali to visit a friend just a few days before she was arrested.

Ormsby denied any wrongdoing, Soenardi said.

"Definitely she's not admitting it because she didn't feel she did it."

His client was "a little bit stressed and disturbed", particularly since hearing the media was reporting her predicament, he said.

When he visited on Tuesday, he took her books on how to speak basic Indonesian.

"At that time, she was in a cell with a group of four women prisoners," Soenardi said.

"She sleeps on a mat."

Soenardi said the woman's family was in New Zealand, but she had seen one visitor.

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Ormsby had gone to Bali alone as a backpacker, he said.

One of her flatmates in Sydney, James, said Ormsby had stopped going to her job as a shop assistant.

"She said she was stressed and needed to get away from everything - life was getting too much," he told the Australian magazine Woman's Day.

Ormsby had told few people about her trip to Bali, leaving her flatmates a note to say she would be back in seven days and part of her rent, the magazine reported.

Denpasar drug squad chief Agus Tri Waluyo said police received information there would be drugs at a party in the villa.

"We made the ambush on Wednesday around 8am," he said.

"In that location, we found the evidence."

According to a statement given to investigators, Ormsby admitted that, some days before the raid, a drugs party had taken place with five of her friends, who had then returned to their home countries.

Ormsby, also known as Leeza Morrison, was born in Rotorua to father Mike Ormsby and mother Rangi Morrison. It's understood her adoptive parents also had the surname Ormsby.

Ormsby and her brother, Michael, were raised in Australia. Their mother is believed to be living south of Perth and works in the shearing industry.

Steven Morrison, who described himself as a "blood relative", said the first anyone in her New Zealand-based family knew of her arrest was when they heard about it through media.

Indonesia is renowned for its heavy penalties for drug use. If Ormsby is charged with possession, she could face a jail term of up to 20 years, but if she is charged with trafficking she could face the death penalty.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said its consul from the embassy in Jakarta was providing consular advice and support and has visited Ormsby in Bali.

It said it could not comment on the police investigation or "interfere in the judicial proceedings of another country".

The embassy's role was to monitor Ormsby's welfare and ensure that she had the same rights as other detainees in Indonesia.

KIWIS ON ASIAN DRUG CHARGES

December 2013: Former Aucklander Garry Halpin arrested on the resort island of Phuket, in Thailand, charged with trying to sell 3.5g of crystal methamphetamine. The 52-year-old could face life imprisonment if convicted. Thai police are awaiting drug tests.

1995: Wainuiomata grandmother Phyllis Tarawhiti arrested at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport, then aged 38, with 250g of heroin. Sentenced to 35 years in the brutal Lad Yao Women's Prison before being pardoned and freed in 2007.

1985: Lorraine Cohen and son Aaron arrested trying to board a plane with heroin at Malaysia's Penang Airport. In 1987 Lorraine was sentenced to death. Aaron, 20, was spared. In 1996 both were released after serving 11 years. By 2001 they were behind bars in New Zealand for drug-related charges.

- Fairfax NZ, with AAP

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