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Lloyd jailed for 10 months in Changi

Tom Allard - December 2, 2008


Peter Lloyd was arrested in July for allegedly possessing 0.4 grams of ice. [Reuters]
ABC foreign correspondent Peter Lloyd has been sentenced to 10 months in a Singapore prison after being caught in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine or "ice" in the island state famous for its hardline stance against drugs.

Lloyd had pleaded guilty to three drugs charges including possessing ice. He was composed as he learned of his fate.

He was handcuffed and taken to Changi prison after saying goodbye to his distressed former wife, Kirsty McIvor.

Earlier his lawyer had told the court that Lloyd wanted to be reunited with his nine-year-old son, who is seriously ill.

Lloyd, 42, appeared before Singapore's subordinate court, where a judge, Hamidah Ibrahim, handed down the sentence.

Lloyd, who had postings in Bangkok and New Delhi and covered some of the most traumatic stories in the region over the past five years, has said he became an infrequent user of ice because it eased the recurrent nightmares he was suffering due to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The well-regarded television and radio journalist had also split from his wife and come out as a homosexual in the months prior to his arrest.

It had been thought that the dropping of an earlier trafficking charge against Lloyd augured well for a lesser sentence.

The trafficking charge carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and 15 strokes of a rattan cane, an excruciatingly painful punishment.

His lawyer, Hamidul Haq, has previously expressed the view that Lloyd, who was on $S60,000 ($61,000) bail, would get a prison sentence of one year.

AAP reports: The ABC later said the conviction meant Lloyd's employment with the national broadcaster had now ended.

"Peter Lloyd has been sentenced to 10 months in prison in Singapore today on drug-related charges, and as such the ABC's employment relationship with Peter has come to an end," an ABC Corporate spokeswoman said in a statement.

"This is due to the fact that Peter is unavailable to work.

"The ABC has valued and respected Peter as an employee and as an outstanding journalist who is widely admired by colleagues and industry peers."

The broadcaster spent more than $65,000 on initial legal support, counselling and related travel expenses since Lloyd's arrest earlier this year.

Tom Allard is the Herald's correspondent in Singapore.

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