Musician sought in Ormsby drug case

MICHAEL BACHELARD
Last updated 19:10 24/02/2014
Leeza Tracey Ormsby

DEEP TROUBLE: Leeza Tracey Ormsby.

Relevant offers

Asia

Death toll rises sharply from Sri Lanka landslide Teachers to face trial over child sex allegations Plot to assassinate Bangladeshi PM uncovered Never too old for Hello Kitty China's port pollution unchecked Bali murder probe frustrates MH17: Malaysia PM vows to bring culprits to justice North Korean leader Kim Jong Un 'had ankle surgery': report Robert Ellis murder: exclusive picture of mother and sons Thai pair charged with defaming monarchy

Bali police have asked Interpol to help investigate Sydney rock band frontman Azaria Byrne in a drug case that has trapped New Zealand born tourist Leeza Tracey Ormsby with a potential 20-year prison sentence.

But they have been unable to continue their interrogation of Ormsby herself because an interpreter was "not ready" on Monday, according to her lawyer.

Denpasar police chief Djoko Hariutomo said they were still investigating "to determine the possibility of the involvement of others in the case".

"To date, we have found no others are involved, but we are continuing to coordinate with Interpol, specifically in regards to the renter of the villa".

Mr Byrne of Sydney band The Art rented the villa but he had already returned to Sydney the night before the drugs were found.

At about 8am the next morning, February 12, Ormsby, who was not staying at the villa but had a set of keys, was caught by police going into the villa - they were acting on a tip-off.

Hashish and MDMA, the ingredient of ecstasy, were found in a locked drawer. Ormsby had the key to the drawer as part of the bunch of keys, but denied the drugs were hers. 

Mr Djoko said, however, that Ormsby had admitted that a joint found in her handbag belonged to her.

"The suspect so far has only admitted to owning the drugs found on her person. She has not admitted to the other drugs. She claims she knows nothing, and that is why we are still investigating, to clear up the ownership issue," Mr Djoko said.

She had not pointed the finger of blame at Byrne.

Ormsby's lawyer, Ary Soenardi, said his client had been given the keys by "a friend" whom he would not name. He said Ormsby had gone to the villa to pick up clothes and a laptop, and had known nothing of the drawer full of drugs.

The other people in the villa were "friends introduced by friends," and she had met them only in the preceding days during her Bali stay.

Mr Ary said Ms Ormsby's family would come to Bali to see her. As for her mood, he said: "She's OK. A little bit sad about what happened days before and we feel sorry for that accident ... and we hope it will never again".

Two Australian men were briefly in the custody of Bali police as part of the drug investigation but both were let go without being arrested.

Mr Djoko confirmed on Sunday that police had brought a "bule" - a white foreigner - in the police car with them as searches and interviews were conducted on the day of Ormsby's arrest.

A member of staff at Villa Askara, where Ormsby was arrested, says one Australian man was in the police car as plain clothes officers waited to ambush Ormsby with the key to the villa at 8am on the morning of her arrest. 

But, "he was someone who had just met up with Orsmby," police chief Djoko said.

"He was with her in the Villa Askara area [where the drugs were found] but we found no evidence of drugs on him, nor that he was related to Leeza's case. We released him after we finished the interrogation and found no evidence he was involved in the case.

Ad Feedback

"He's Australian but we can't give you his name - it would be a breach of his privacy if we released his name."

Another foreigner, known as Marco, was also reportedly seen at the police station on the night of Ormsby's arrest, but has since been let go.

Under Indonesia's strict drug laws, Ormsby could face decades in prison.

Byrne is a former boyfriend of Veronica's singer Jess Origliasso. Byrne has told News Limited newspapers that he knew nothing about the drugs and that he believes Ormsby is innocent.

Staff at the villa say Marco was the one who recommended Byrne stay at the villa. 

Police chief Mr Djoko said on Sunday that the drug paraphernalia found at the Villa in Canggu, north Kuta, had yielded no hard evidence of who owned it.

"We can't use any of the fingerprints on the evidence, not because police officers mishandled the evidence, but simply because no usable fingerprints could be found," Mr Djoko said.

Observers of the way police investigations work in Bali suggests that the Australian man seen in the police car might have been involved in what's known locally as a "head exchange". 

Such an exchange means a person who has been arrested points the finger at somebody else, and once the second arrest is made, the first person is released.

However, it's not always a reliable way of getting out of trouble in Bali. British drug mule grandmother Lindsay Sandiford is now on death row even though she continued with a controlled delivery of the cocaine she had imported to Bali.

Her actions exposed her co-conspirators, but the alleged kingpins received significantly lighter prison sentences while she faces the firing squad.

Ary Soenardi, the lawyer for one of the leniently treated men, Julian Ponder, is now representing Leeza Ormsby.

On Friday, police delayed a press conference relating to the case.

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content