Fourth Briton in Indonesian "drug ring" sentenced to six years

Featured South East Asia - January 30th, 2013

A British man arrested in connection with an international drug trafficking ring in Bali has been handed a six year jail sentence just a week after his alleged associate was sentenced to death.

Julian Ponder, 43, was given the relatively light sentence on Tuesday on charges of possession of cocaine in contrast to the death penalty handed to Lindsay Sandiford, 56, last week for her involvement in a “huge international syndicate”.

Ponder was also fined 1.0 billion rupiah ($103,000) after being found guilty of possessing 23.04 grams (0.8 ounces) of cocaine with a street value of $6,000. The drug was discovered in the bedroom of his luxury villa in Bali, AFP reports.

“The defendant has been proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing a crime of drug possession,” presiding judge Gunawan Tri Budiono said.

The defendant’s lawyer said that his client had been fortunate not to receive a tougher sentence and is unlikely to appeal.

“The sentence is quite light, not far from what the prosecutors had asked, so we will soon advise our client to accept it,” defence lawyer Arie Budiman Soenardi told reporters after the trial.

Ponder, the last of the four Britons arrested on drug charges, was arrested in a sting operation by police after arranging to meet with Sandiford to allegedly receive a package smuggled into Indonesia.

Sandiford was arrested at Denpasar airport with five kilos (11 pounds) of cocaine worth $2.5 million hidden in her suitcase.