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Op-Ed: Lindsay Sandiford accomplice sentenced in Bali drug case

By Alexander Baron     Jan 29, 2013 in Crime
Bali - Last week, Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death in Bali for cocaine smuggling; today her accomplice received a considerably more lenient sentence.
While any sentence would have been more lenient that death by firing squad, Julian Ponder could easily have received a 15 year stretch, which is what the prosecution asked for Sandiford. Instead he received a mere 6 years - the prosecution had asked for 7 years. What does this tell us?
While we will probably never know the whole truth, it is clear the judges gave this case considerable thought, and have concluded that Sandiford was a major player if not the major player.
Clive Stafford Smith's Reprieve organisation had produced a so-called expert witness who expressed the view that Sandiford had been coerced into smuggling cocaine. Sandiford had herself made such a claim, but as she was caught red-handed, apart from an outright denial there was little else she could have said.
In fact, an entirely different picture of Sandiford has now emerged from that of the frightened little woman she has been made out to be. There appears to be compelling evidence that she is, or was, a time serving dealer, having smuggled high quality hashish from India before graduating to the white stuff. This is not the sort of evidence that would stand up in a courtroom, but it is based on extensive research in a difficult subject area.
Meanwhile, Sandiford is appealing her death sentence, but not her conviction.
While the British Government should make representations to Indonesia in connection with this, the issue is not one worth alienating a friendly country over. Every British tourist who enters Indonesia, Thailand or any Oriental country must surely be aware of the Draconian penalties meted out to those caught in possession of even a small quantity of controlled drugs, and unlike many at times more serious crimes, drug smuggling is one for which there can be little if any mitigation, especially by foreigners.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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