Australian man gets one year prison term after caught smoking joint in Bali
An Australian man has been sentenced to one year in prison after being caught smoking a cannabis joint on a Bali beach, reinforcing the hardline stance Indonesia takes against illicit drug use, especially by foreigners.
Nicholas James Langan, 24, from Townsville, remained impassive in Denpasar district court as the judges revealed the sentence, substantially less than the four-year term that prosecutors had demanded, the maximum for personal use of narcotics.
During his trial, Langan had told authorities that he had a history of drug and alcohol addiction and impulsively smoked the drugs with his Indonesian driver Hanung Pekik Hermantoro, aged 25. Hermantoro received the same sentence.
Both men have already spent six months in prison on remand, so they will only have to serve another six months before being released.
Police found less than 1 gram of cannabis in the men’s possession, a half-smoked joint and a small bag of the drug.
The prison term contrasted to lighter sentences for locals caught with larger amounts.
Bernard P. Simanjuntak, better known as Ben Panangian and a friend of drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, received a 10-month term after being caught with 8.3 grams of the drug. Simanjutak had a criminal record and met Corby in Kerobokan prison.
Langan’s lawyer Nyoman Sayoga said his client was hoping to be released immediately to undergo rehabilitation, an option available to judges under the country’s criminal code.
Head judge Cening Budiawan said the two men’s polite demeanour during the trial, their frank admission of guilt and their young age worked in their favour as the judges deliberated on the sentence.
Giving testimony during the trial, Langan apologised for disrespecting Indonesian law and lamented his weakness in succumbing to the drug.
Prosecutors and defence lawyers have seven days to appeal the sentence.
with Amilia Rosa
Stephen Hawking has given a stark end of the world warning
Mr Hawking said it would lead to a “catastrophic vacuum decay” which would cause space and time to collapse and that we would NOT have any warning to the danger.
The eminent scientist added that the armageddon scenario could happen at any time.
Speaking in the preface to a new book called Starmus, Mr Hawking said: “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become megastable at energies above 100bn giga-electron-volts (GeV).
Mr Hawking said if the Higgs boson became unstable it could destroy the universe
This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming
“This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”
The Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 by scientists at CERN – who operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
The Higgs boson was named after British physicist Peter Higgs
It was named after British physicist Peter Higgs who predicted its existence in 1964.
Mr Hawking, 72, did say the likelihood of such a disaster is unlikely to happen in the near future.
However, Mr Hawking added that the danger of the Higgs becoming destabilised at high energy is too great to be ignored.
He said: “If the Higgs potential is metastable, it places important constraints on the evolution of the universe.”
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