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Unionst may escape Indonesian jail term

Australian Robert McJannett
TOM ALLARD, JAKARTA - March 31, 2010

Australian Robert McJannett - caught with a small packet of cannabis at Denpasar airport in December may get off with a stint in drug rehabilitation.

An Australian trade unionist - Robert Paul McJannett caught with a small packet of cannabis at Denpasar airport in December may get off with a stint in rehabilitation once time already served in prison is taken into account.

McJannett - a burly Perth trade unionist who has unsuccessfully ran for senior positions in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union - was charged with four drug-related offences when he made his first court appearance in Denpasar yesterday.

The sentences for the charges range from a maximum 15-year prison term for importing narcotics to four months in prison and rehabilitation for failing to report he was a drug addict.

Under Indonesia's legal system, the court will decide which, if any, of the four charges apply.

As such, McJannett's best hope is if a Bali court finds he was a drug addict, something McJannett now maintains, saying he needed to smoke cannabis to combat insomnia.

"The new drug laws carries heavier sentence for drug crimes, but also pays more attention to users," said prosecutor I Nyoman Sucitrawan.

"If he's found guilty, as a user, we still have to put him on drug rehab, sending him to prison would only worsen his addiction."

Soon after his arrest, McJannett claimed he was "set up" and the cannabis planted in his luggage as he flew to Bali for a holiday with his adult son.

That claim was later retracted.

McJannett yesterday insisted he was unaware of Indonesia's strict drug laws despite the enormous publicity generated by the cases of Schapelle Corby, who was caught with cannabis, and the Bali Nine heroin-smuggling ring.

"As far as I know, five grams of marijuana is legal in my country. I wasn't aware of the law in Indonesia," he told reporters.

McJannett has been held in Bali prisons since his arrest, meaning if he was found guilty of the most lenient charge he would be eligible for a quick release and rehabilitation.


Australian apologises to Bali court
April 14, 2010 - AAP

An Australian man has apologised to an Indonesian court for bringing marijuana into the resort island of Bali.

Perth man Robert Paul McJannett, 48, was arrested at Denpasar airport on December 28 last year with 1.7 grams of marijuana in his luggage.

He is now facing trial in the Denpasar District Court charged with importing a "group one" narcotic, which carries a maximum of 15 years' jail, and three lesser offences.

McJannett has admitted to bringing the drug into Bali - despite earlier claiming he was a victim of a set-up - but says he didn't realise marijuana was illegal in Indonesia.

"I deeply apologise," he told the court on Wednesday.

McJannett promised to seek rehabilitation if the court sets him free.

McJannett, a crane operator and prominent trade unionist, said he uses marijuana to help with pain and insomnia.

Prosecutors have described McJannett as an "addict" who has used marijuana for more than 30 years.

McJannett travelled to Bali for a five-day holiday with his son.

His trial continues next week.

Drugs confession for Australian unionist in Bali

Confession ... Australian Robert McJannett / Pic: Lukman S Bintoro Source: The Daily Telegraph
AUSTRALIAN trade unionist Robert McJannett confessed in a Bali court yesterday to owning 1.7g of marijuana which was found in his luggage when he landed at Bali airport for a holiday.

The 48-year-old said when he was searched at Bali's international airport he had denied owning it because he was terrified.

He told the court he had used marijuana during his military career to deal with "depression".

The trial continues next week.

Bali drug accused Mcjannett calls in addiction doctors

Robert Mcjannett after his arrest in Bali. Photo: Channel Seven
CHRIS THOMSON - April 1, 2010

Perth trade unionist Robert Mcjannett who is on trial in Bali for allegedly importing marijuana says he will call evidence from psychiatrists and doctors to prove he is an addict.

If the move is successful, he could walk free from Kerobokan Prison within three months.

Through a text message received from a spokesperson, Mr Mcjannett said "it was early days yet" in the Denpasar District Court trial that started on Tuesday.

"I am assured my medical evidence from two astute psychiatrists in Brisbane and numerous other doctors who treated me for cannabis addiction and the effects of same is very good, as touched on by (my) prosecutor," Mr Mcjannett said through the spokesperson.

Mr Mcjannett said his lawyer had stated on Tuesday that his client was carrying "$5 worth of marijuana" and that he was an addicted user and not an importer.

In the court on Tuesday, prosecutor Nyoman Sucitrawan described Mr Mcjannett as an "addict" who had used marijuana for more than 30 years.

"The defendant has been using it since 1978 to help him sleep," Mr Sucitrawan said.

Through the spokesperson, Mr Mcjannett told that Article 134 of the relevant Indonesian law carried a maximum penalty of six months for an addicted user who had medical proof.

He noted that he had already served three months in Bali's Kerokoban Prison.

He said that under the second-best scenario - Article 127 of the law - he could be convicted for zero to four years.

"(But it is) not possible to have (a) nil sentence when you (are already) in jail," he lamented.

Mr Mcjannett, 48, is an active member of the WA branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

In 2005, the political aspirant ran as an independent for the seat of Redcliffe in the Queensland Parliament.

He was arrested at Denpasar Airport on December 28 last year, after 1.7 grams of marijuana was allegedly found in his luggage.

He was among the first to be charged under Indonesia's harsh new drug laws introduced last year.

Mr Mcjannett has been charged with importing a "group one" narcotic, which carries a minimum sentence of five years' jail and a maximum of 15.

He is also charged with possession, which carries a minimum of four years' jail and a maximum of 12, and the lesser offences of drug use and failing to report a drug addiction.

The trial continues next week.

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