21 October 2017

Australian sentenced in Timor-Leste to three and a half years in jail for drug possession

!WARNING MACHINE TRANSLATION! ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT LINK FOLLOWS -  Lusa20 Out, 2017, 10:31 | Mundo An Australian citizen has today been sentenced to three and a half years' imprisonment by the Dili District Court for possession of narcotics, in this case some marijuana plants, absolving him of the crime of consumption.

Tony Crean, who has been held in custody since Jan. 31 and for whom the Public Prosecutor has asked for 10 years for trafficking and four for consumption, is the first foreigner to be tried on the basis of the country's new drug law.

Although the defendant admitted consumption and rejected trafficking, the judge eventually acquitted him of consumption (urine tests gave negative), but condemn for possession and trafficking.

Two police officers, the only two witnesses presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office - who in the original indictment used the term "flagrante delicto" for the crimes of consumption and trafficking - confirmed during the trial that there was no evidence of trafficking.

Crean, who has lived in East Timor for 17 years, said the plants found by police in pots in the compound where he lived and worked had been transplanted from the backyard where they grew wild.

In reading the ruling, Judge Duarte Tilman said that the facts presented by the Public Ministry were only "partially proven", determining, in addition to the actual arrest, the payment of 200 dollars in costs.

Crean's defense said it will appeal.

Crean, who has served nearly nine months in prison, can apply for parole when he has served half the sentence.

Original Portuguese text here: https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/australiano-condenado-em-timor-leste-a-tres-anos-e-meio-de-cadeia-por-posse-de-droga_n1035081
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