Bali Drugs Case: Briton Julian Ponder Jailed

A British man has been jailed for six years and fined the equivalent of £65,000 after being convicted of cocaine possession in Bali.

Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, was cleared of drug trafficking but found guilty of the lesser offence of possession.

Prosecutors in Indonesia had asked for a seven-year prison term, and he could have faced a maximum sentence of life.

Ponder has been linked to Lindsay Sandiford, the 56-year-old British grandmother sentenced to death for smuggling cocaine worth £1.5m onto the island in May last year.

She alleged that Ponder was the man she was going to deliver the drug shipment to, a claim he denies.

Ponder and his partner Rachel Dougall were arrested alongside Sandiford in a sting operation by Indonesian police.

At the time of her arrest, Dougall, who has a young daughter, insisted she was the victim of a "fit-up" and Ponder claimed he was "trapped".

Ponder's lawyer said he was told that Sandiford was delivering a present for his child's birthday and, when he met her to receive the gift, police officers arrested him.

Sky's Jonathan Samuels said: "It was alleged that he was linked to Lindsay Sandiford ... she was caught at the airport and arrested, and she alleged that Julian Ponder was the man she was going to deliver the cocaine to.

"It's something he has always denied. He was initially charged with drugs trafficking, but that charge was dropped.

"He was then charged with drugs possession after a small amount of drugs was found in his home.

"The judges did have the right to re-examine the evidence, and to re-charge him with drug trafficking.

"They've decided not to do that, so he will spend six years in one of the most notorious jails on the holiday island."

Sandiford, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has notified Indonesian officials she intends to appeal against her sentence.

She was accused by the Bali court of damaging the image of the resort island and received the sentence despite prosecutors only asking for a 15-year jail term.

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