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Brighton father in court over alleged Bali drug smuggling
A father appeared in court where he was formally accused of being involved in smuggling millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Bali, a charge which could see him face the death penalty.
Julian Ponder, from Brighton, appeared in Denpasar District Court, Bali, on Thursday.
Ponder’s partner Rachel Dougall, whose elderly mother Stella lives in Withdean Rise, off London Road, Brighton, is set to appear at the same court on Monday in relation to the same offence.
The Indonesian and Australian press reported that Ponder, who owns a flat with Dougall in Eastern Terrace, Kemp Town, was indicted as part of a cocaine drugs ring.
It is alleged he willingly received $2.5 million worth of cocaine from another Brit, Lindsay Sandiford, who also appeared in court.
Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, is also accused of drugs smuggling and faces the death penalty.
The Sydney Morning Herald said that prosecutors told the Bali court that in May this year Sandiford smuggled 4.79 kilograms of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase and that Ponder had willingly received the drugs in a street near the airport.
Sandiford was arrested in May on arriving at Bali’s airport from Bangkok after customs officials found the drugs. Police then set up a sting and netted Ponder and Dougall, the court was told.
Prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan told the court: “The defendant [Sandiford] acted against Indonesian law in smuggling illegal drugs classified under category one into the country.”
Prosecutor Ketut Sujaya told the court: “The defendant [ Ponder] acted against the law by offering a service to sell or purchase, or by being an intermediary in a transaction, of illegal drugs classified under category one.”
Indonesian law divides drugs into three categories, the first listing those considered most serious, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
After the court hearing Mr Setiawan told reporters: “This offence carries a maximum penalty of death.”
Ponder, Dougall and Sandiford are in custody.
The trial continues.