Australian gets 10 mths jail in Singapore over drugs
Reuters - 40 minutes ago
SINGAPORE, Dec 2 - A Singapore court sentenced Australian journalist Peter Lloyd to 10 months in jail on Tuesday for drug offences.
Lloyd, the Australian Broadcasting Corp's South Asia correspondent, faced three drug-related charges: possession, consumption and owning drug utensils.
In a courtroom packed with reporters, Lloyd was convicted of all three charges and sentenced to eight months in jail for the first two charges and two months for owning drug utensils.
The New Delhi-based Lloyd could have faced a jail term of up to 10 years and a S$20,000 fine for the charges of possession and consumption.
Wearing a dark grey suit, Lloyd looked visibly relieved when he heard the sentence. A few of his friends were in the courtroom to show their support and his ex-wife, Kirsty McIvor, broke down as she watched him being led away in handcuffs.
Lloyd had initially faced a charge of drug trafficking which could have seen him jailed for up to 20 years and caned 15 times but that charge was dropped early last month.
He was arrested in Singapore on July 16 while on holiday after being found with about half a gram of methamphetamine.
Singapore's drug laws are among the world's toughest and anyone caught carrying more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine, 500 grams of cannabis or 250 grams of methamphetamine faces a mandatory death sentence by hanging.
Lloyd's lawyer, Hamidul Haq, argued for leniency, saying the journalist suffered post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his coverage of events such as the Bali bombings in 2002 and the Asian tsunami in 2004.
"Peter was a journalist in South Asia and Southeast Asia, he has seen many traumatic incidences," Haq said, adding Lloyd suffered from recurring nightmares.
Taking methamphetamines became a form of self-medication for Lloyd, Haq added.
Haq also said Lloyd's nine-year old son, Jack, suffered from an illness that brought on life-threatening seizures, and a long prison sentence could have torn father and son apart forever.
In 2005, Australian Tuong Van Nguyen, 25, was hanged in Singapore after he was convicted of smuggling 400 grams of heroin from Cambodia through Singapore's Changi airport in 2002.
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