Ten months jail for Leeza Ormsby for joint in handbag

Last updated 19:58 02/07/2014

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Kiwi woman Leeza Ormsby will be home for Christmas after a Balinese court sentenced her to just 10 months in prison for possessing 0.3 grams of hashish.

The sentence was shorter than the one year and three months requested by the prosecutor, but did not seem to surprise Ormsby, who showed little expression as she thanked her lawyer, Ary Soenardi, and then left the court without further comment.

Sydney-based Ormsby, 37, who was born in New Zealand and is likely to return there after serving her sentence, has been in Indonesian custody since her arrest on drug charges on February 21.

Judge Parulian Saragih said he had eased her sentence because Ormsby had no criminal record, admitted her guilt, showed remorse and promised never to repeat her mistake.

Mr Ary said his client was relieved because she had not been convicted over “rumours and accusations” that she was responsible for a much larger haul of drugs found in the house she was entering on the day she was arrested.

“She thought that she was going to get a longer sentence because of that, but you can see for yourself, today she is very relieved about what she’s getting … She will serve the time and then go back to New Zealand,” Mr Ary said.

The indictment against Ormsby said police had been tipped off at about 4pm on February 11 by “members of the local community” about “foreigners having a drug party” in villa Anggrek, in the Askara villas.

Members of the drug unit arrived at the villa at 11pm but it was empty. They staked it out until Ormsby turned up on a motorcycle taxi at about 8am the next morning and sought to enter the villa using a key.

More than 132 grams of MDMA and 26 grams of hashish were found in a locked drawer inside the villa. This could have given rise to a trafficking charge, particularly as the drugs had been weighed and packaged, apparently ready for individual sale.

The villa had been rented by Sydney rock band frontman Azaria Byrne, but he had left Bali for Sydney the night before Ormsby was ambushed by police.

Ormsby’s ex-boyfriend, Sydney DJ Marco Mazzucco, aka Marcotix was also in Bali at the time and had given Ormsby the keys to the villa. He was questioned by Bali police after being called to the police station, but denied any involvement and was allowed to go. He also left Bali straight away.

Ormsby herself had half a joint — 0.3 grams of hashish — in her handbag. Her evidence was that a man called “Robert”, whom she had met on the beach the day before, had given it to her, and she admitted smoking half the joint with him. She insisted she did not know him.

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“She has no way to contact him. He was just someone she met on the beach,” Mr Ary said during the case. “If she knew more about this Robert, she would have given the information to the police.”

The possession charge, to which Ormsby pleaded guilty, carried up to a 15-year jail sentence. But she successfully argued that she was an addict, meaning, in Indonesian law, that she was a “drug victim”.

She was not charged over the large volume of MDMA and hashish. Nobody else has been arrested for those drugs; the prosecutor has said it was still under investigation.

During the trial, Ormsby said she said she had learned “a valuable lesson” about herself and the world. She admitted to using other drugs, including heroin, at various times in the past.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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