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Drug-smuggling British grandmother escapes firing squad but still faces 15 years in Bali jail… as another member of 'gang' finds out she'll be home by April
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was stopped with cocaine worth 1.6m in suitcaseProsecutor will ask for 15 years jail despite mandatory death sentence She is among four Britons accused of smuggling the drugs from Thailand
Julian Ponder, of Brighton, is facing prison or death in trial set for JanuaryRachel Dougall, 39, jailed for one year and and Paul Beales, 39, for four
07:51 GMT, 21 December 2012
A British grandmother has avoided the death penalty – but faces 15 years in a Bali jail for drug-running.
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, has been spared execution because of her age and for her co-operation with authorities on the holiday isle.
They also rewarded her good behaviour. She is expected to be sentenced by three judges on January 3.
Sandiford is one of ‘the British gang of four’ who were linked by customs officials and police after the grandmother tried to smuggle 1.6million of cocaine into the country from Thailand last May.
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Drug smuggling: Lindsay Sandiford, left, faces
15 years in jail, while Rachel Dougall, right,
was jailed for just one year for her part in the plot (above, in separate
The usual sentence for the amount of cocaine found in the lining of her suitcase – 4.8kg – is execution and sources claimed judges still have the right to impose that penalty.
Also facing an uncertain future is former antiques restorer Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, whose court hearing is expected to take place in the weeks following Sandiford’s case in January.
But there was relief for Ponder’s partner, Rachel Dougall, the 39-year-old mother of their six-year-old daughter, when she received a one-year jail sentence in the Denpasar District Court yesterday.
She could be on her way back to the UK by April, to be reunited with her daughter, because she has already been in jail for eight months awaiting trial.
Nervous wait: Prosecutors on the holiday island of Bali said they would ask for 15 years jail for the 56-year-old because of her co-operation in a major drug smuggling case, but it is up to three judges
Caught: Despite Mrs Sandiford allegedly 'coming clean' and telling police who her contacts were, officers were unable to find any physical evidence to connect the grandmother with the three suspects
Jailed: During Miss Dougall's trial which ended yesterday, charges of possession of cocaine were dropped and instead she was found guilty of failing to inform the authorities of the presence of an illegal drug
Spared: 39-year-old Briton Beales, a long-time Bali resident, was spared a heavy sentence when the judges convicted him for possession of a small amount of hashish
Gang of four: Rachel Dougall, left, was jailed for a year after her charges were lessened while Paul
Beales, right, was imprisoned for four years for his role in the plot
Dougall and Ponder insisted that they believed a gift-wrapped package of drugs Sandiford took to their house – watched by police who insisted she go through with her delivery instructions – was a birthday present for their daughter.
Although police did find drugs at the villa, it was a relatively small amount – 25g of cocaine hidden in a cigarette packet.
It is understood from sources close to the police that all alleged conversations that took place between Dougall and Sandiford – including one when Dougall gave the grandmother instructions on where and when to deliver the contraband – were carried out through mobile phones.
Paraded: Three Britons, Beales, Dougall and Ponder, and an Indian national were seen dressed in ill-fitting orange outfits and flip-flops after their arrests in May
Arrests: Sandiford was detained at Denpasar Airport on the paradise island of Bali, Indonesia
But investigators failed to retrieve any SIM card during the raid on Dougall’s villa.
As for the cocaine found in the cigarette packet, Ponder admitted during an earlier hearing that it was his.
Charges of possession of cocaine against Dougall were dropped. Instead she was found guilty of failing to inform the authorities of the presence of an illegal drug – a much lesser offence.
For Dougall and Beales, their relatively light jail sentences will come as a relief after Sandiford told police that she had met both of them in Bangkok before she took the flight to Bali.
She said Beales placed the drugs in the lining of her suitcase and that Dougall was the owner of the drugs, a claim both denied.
Sandiford claims that her son in the UK had been threatened with reprisals if she did not agree to carry the drugs into Bali.
INDONESIA'S DRUG SCENE: A CONTRADICTION
Indonesia's drug scene is seen as something of a contradiction – as there is relatively high levels of illegal drug use and some of the strictest laws against them.
The Indonesian authorities are ready to make an example of foreigners who use illegal drugs in their jurisdiction, with Bali's Kerobokan Prison housing plenty of non-Indonesians.
Divided into three groups, category 1 drugs are recognised as 'therapeutically useless with a high potential for causing addiction'.
They include cocaine and heroin. Sentences are the most strict – with life imprisonment for possession, and the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers.
Group 2 drugs, such as morphine and methadone, are seen as 'useful for therapeutic purposes, but dangerous due to their high addictive potential'.
Possession is punishable by 3 to 10 years' imprisonment, and fines of around 40,000 to 400,000.
Trafficking is punishable by 4 to 12 years' imprisonment and 60,000 to 600,000 fines.
Group 3 drugs, such as codeine, are seen as 'therapeutically useful and moderately addictive'.
Possession is punishable by 2 to 7 years' imprisonment, and a fine of 30,000 to 280,000. While trafficking is punishable by 3 to 10 years and fine of 40,000 to 400,000.
VIDEO Court scene as Briton gets a year for drugs and grandmother faces 15yrs
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