Skip to main content


Prosecutor seeks lenient sentence for David Fox

A prosecutor on the Indonesian resort island of Bali demanded a one-year prison sentence for former Reuters correspondent David Fox (photo) who is on trial for allegedly using hashish.

It would include time already served, meaning he could be released from jail within months.

Prosecutors at a separate later hearing will recommend a jail sentence for Australian businessman Giuseppe Serafino, who was detained before Fox and led police to the journalist.

They are charged with using, possessing and transporting hashish after allegedly being caught with small amounts of the drug.

Fox admitted to police after his arrest last October that he had been using hashish for years to help him cope with post traumatic stress disorder after covering wars and conflicts in such places as Bosnia, Rwanda and Iraq.

Under Indonesia's tough anti-drugs laws, he could face several years in jail but at Thursday's hearing in the Balinese capital Denpasar, prosecutor Erawati Susina said prosecutors were seeking a lenient sentence as Fox was a first-time offender and had admitted his wrongdoing.

"We request the panel of judges sentence David Matthew Fox to one year in prison, with time he served in detention deducted," Susina said.

He said mitigating factors were that Fox was polite during the trial, frankly admitted what he had done and had never been convicted before.

However an aggravating factor was that his actions worked against the Indonesian government's programme to eradicate the distribution of illegal narcotics.

Judges do not have to follow prosecutors' sentence recommendations but they often do.

The verdict and sentence will be handed down, possibly next week, after Fox's defence team is given the chance to make a final statement. ■