Woman involved in Bali drugs sting sentenced to death - Brighton man's verdict due tomorrow (From The Argus)
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Woman involved in Bali drugs sting sentenced to death - Brighton man's verdict due tomorrow
A British woman has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking – a Brighton man involved in the same case is set to find out the verdict in his trial tomorrow.
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was arrested in May last year after police in Bali said they found 10.6lb (4.8kg) of cocaine worth £1.6 million in the lining of her suitcase.
Julian Ponder and Rachel Dougall, who own a flat in Eastern Road, Brighton, were involved in the same smuggling operation.
Dougall, in her 30s, escaped the death penalty for their role in the smuggling operation.
At the time of her arrest, Dougall, who has a young daughter, insisted she was the victim of a "fit-up" and Ponder claimed he was "trapped".
Ponder's lawyer claimed he was told that Sandiford was delivering a present for his child's birthday and, when he met her to receive the gift, police officers arrested him. A verdict is expected in the trial of Ponder tomorrow.
Sandiford’s sentence prompted gasps of surprise in Denpasar District Court.
Not even the prosecution had been seeking the death penalty.
Sandiford wept as judges handed down the sentence and refused to speak to reporters on her way back to prison, covering her face with a scarf.
She had previously claimed in court that she was forced into taking the drugs into the country by gangsters who were threatening to hurt one of her children. Sandiford's lawyers are expected to appeal against the sentence.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in Indonesia. We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance. The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances."
Delivering the sentence, a panel headed by Judge Amser Simanjuntak concluded that Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination and weakened the government's anti-drugs programme.
The judge told the court: "We found no reason to lighten her sentence."
During the trial, her lawyer read out a statement from her son which said: "I love my mother very much and have a very close relationship with her... I cannot imagine what I would do if she was sentenced to death in relation to these charges."