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Saturday 20 September 2014

Bali drugs case man gets six years

Published 29/01/2013 | 09:10

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Briton Julian Ponder has been sentenced to six years in prison in Indonesia for his part in cocaine smuggling (AP)

A British man has been sentenced to six years in prison for receiving cocaine in Indonesia from a British grandmother who was sentenced to death last week.

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Julian Anthony Ponder was found guilty of being an accomplice to 56-year-old Lindsay Sandiford. She was sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling cocaine worth 2.5 million US dollars (£1.6 million) in her suitcase on to the resort island of Bali.

Presiding Judge Gunawan Tri Budiono said Ponder was convicted of possessing narcotics and also fined one billion rupiah (£65,000). Two other British citizens and an Indian have also been convicted and jailed in connection with the case.

Ponder seemed relieved after hearing the verdict, but declined to talk to the press.

"I think it's light enough," said his lawyer, Ary Sunardi. "We will suggest that he accept the sentence."

Prosecutors had sought seven years for Ponder, who could have received a life term. They had sought 15 years for Sandiford, but the court stunned Sandiford and many people in Britain by sentencing her to death.

Sandiford filed an appeal request on Monday. During her trial, she claimed she was forced to transport the drugs into the country by a gang that was threatening to hurt her children. She was arrested in May when 8.4lb (3.8kg) of cocaine was discovered in the lining of her suitcase at Bali's airport.

In London, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire told politicians last week that the Government strongly opposes Sandiford's sentence.

Most of the more than 40 foreigners on Indonesia's death row were convicted of drug charges. The country has not executed anyone since 2008, when 10 people were put to death.

Ponder's wife, Rachel Dougall, was earlier sentenced to one year in the case, while Indian national Nandagopal Akkineni received five years. Another Briton, Paul Beales, was previously jailed for four years.

Press Association

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