AN Australian union official will be among the first to test new drug laws now in place in Bali which are even harsher than those that put Schapelle Corby behind bars for 20 years.
Robert Paul McJannett, arrested last week in Bali and accused of trying to bring 1.7g of marijuana to the holiday island, will be one of the first people to be dealt with under the new regime, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
The new narcotics law, enacted late last year, stipulates minimum sentences for drug possession and import and export and makes it harder for people to claim they are addicts in order to be dealt with leniently and receive just a few months in jail.
In addition to the new laws is a Supreme Court practice note, which regulates the amount of drug which can be deemed to be for a user.
For marijuana the limit for a user is a maximum of one cigarette or 0.05g.
Anything over that and it is less likely the accused would be dealt with under legislation for users and addicts which carries a much more lenient jail term and offers the possibility of being sent to drug rehabilitation rather than jail.
The new laws are not good news for 48-year-old, who is now in Kerobokan Jail awaiting trial.
Police say that because Mr McJannett was allegedly caught with 1.7g they will not charge him with personal use because it is well over the 0.05g limit as required under the legislation.
In the past, Australians caught with small amounts of drugs in Bali have been convicted under laws for drug addicts and sentenced to just a few months in jail after providing doctor’s reports attesting to their addiction.
Model Michelle Leslie, caught with two ecstasy pills in her handbag, was sentenced to three months in jail.
Legislators said that one reason the law has been changed was to avoid people pretending to be addicts in order to have their sentence slashed and for genuine addicts to have the chance at rehabilitation in medical centres, not jails.
Police have said that Mr McJannett will be charged with a primary charge under article 111 of the new narcotics law for possession of a group one narcotic which carries a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum of 12 years.
The article covers planting, maintaining, owning, keeping, controlling or providing group one narcotics.
Group one includes heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
Mr McJannett will also likely face a subsidiary charge under article 113 for importing a group one narcotic with a minimum term of five years and maximum of 15 years.
However police say that because the amount involved was more than 0.05g which the Supreme Court has said is the limit for a user, they will not use article 127 which carries a maximum sentence of four years for using group one narcotics. There is no minimum term.
This means Mr McJannett is potentially exposed to a much more lengthy sentence than under the old laws.
By Cindy Wockner
January 8, 2010