13 December 2017

Teen detained in Bali: white powder reported to be...

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Jamie Murphy, 18, was apparently celebrating schoolies week at Kuta nightclub when he was stopped by security and searched.

An Australian teenager arrested in Bali while apparently celebrating schoolies week is reportedly set for release after police tested the white substance he was allegedly caught with and found it not to be an illegal drug.

According to News Corp, which cited unnamed police sources, the powder is likely to be paracetamol.

The ABC reported that the teenager’s lawyer said police drugs tests came back negative but did not give further details.

Jamie Murphy, 18, has remained locked up in Bali while he and the suspected drug were tested, according to police.

News Corp’s report also said blood and urine tests found no trace of drugs in Murphy.

The teenager was facing up to 12 years in an Indonesian prison after allegedly being found with the white powder at a Kuta nightclub.

Kuta police’s chief commissioner, Wayan Sumara, earlier said police suspected it was cocaine or heroin.

“He said he got it from one of the people on the street,” Sumara told reporters.

The Perth teenager is believed to have just graduated from high school before arriving on the popular tourist island on Sunday with two friends.

Early on Tuesday Murphy was stopped while trying to gain entry into the Kuta night spot Skygarden. Inside his bumbag, the club’s security allegedly found white powder in a plastic satchel, along with an ATM card and hotel keys. Security was told to bring the teenager to a Kuta police station where he was held in a cell overnight.

Nine News Perth said the teenager’s arrest was caught on camera. Footage appears to show the teenager being held by a security guard and professing his innocence.

“It’s not mine ... What are you doing? It is not mine,” he reportedly can be heard saying. “I don’t do this shit, I only drink.”

Police say the teenager was uncooperative and allegedly resisted arrest.

Sumara said the teenager would remain locked up until any confirmation was received. “We will check with his group whether he is part of schoolies or not.”

A friend of Murphy’s, Ty Airey, claimed the young man had been set up. Posting a news video and screenshots to Facebook, Airey took aim at the Australian media for dragging Murphy’s name “through the gutter”.

He said the video, purportedly of Murphy’s initial arrest and the discovery of the drugs in his bag, show a security officer holding the bag of powder.

“You can clearly see the cocaine in the security’s hand BEFORE he even opened up the bag, don’t drag his name through the gutter when even the video u posted has it clearly showing a set up,” Airey said.

However the Australian has reported one of the security guards denying it was a set up, and claiming the video of the search was filmed later at the police station as a demonstration.

News Corp reported unnamed police sources claiming Murphy has since confessed. Guardian Australia has been unable to confirm this.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to an Australian man. “Due to privacy obligations we are unable to provide further information,” it said.

“The consul general in Bali has been in contact with the young man and we are arranging to visit him today,” the foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, told Channel Nine on Wednesday.

Bishop said the teenager could be held for three days while an investigation took place and another three days while a decision was made about whether or not to arrest him.

The Australian government had been in contact with his family to provide advice on issues like legal representation.

“We’re providing whatever advice and support we’re able to do these in circumstances,” Bishop said.

She warned young Australians travelling to Indonesia that “the laws can be very harsh for offences or activities in Australian that might seem minor”.

It is believed the teenager was staying at The One hotel in Legian.

Gerry Maio, the president of the Perth-based Bayswater City soccer club where Murphy plays, said he had spoken to the teen’s mother, who was overwhelmed by what had happened.

“Of course she was in tears, as any mother would be,” he told ABC radio. “It’s very hard to gather everything together.

“He was a very promising athlete in our sport. I haven’t even seen him with a bottle of beer in his hand.”

2016.11.23 / 09:59
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