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Woman in Bali court over 'inaccurate' drugs charges

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

ON TRIAL: Lindsay Sandiford

MOTHER Lindsay Sandiford has appeared in court in Bali on multiple drugs charges.

The 56-year-old, who used to live in Cheltenham, is accused of being part of a cocaine drug ring in Bali.

If convicted of smuggling drugs, the former Warden Hill and Hester's Way resident could face the death penalty.

Prosecutors told the court that in May, Sandiford was arrested by customs officials for smuggling 4.79kg (10.6lbs) of cocaine, with a street value worth £1.5 million, in her suitcase after flying from Bangkok.

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After her arrest on the Indonesian island, Sandiford, who once lived in Hester's Way and Warden Hill, agreed to take part in a sting operation, which resulted in the arrest of four other suspects.

They included Brit Julian Pounder, whose trial also began yesterday.

Appearing at a district court in Denpasar, Indonesia, Sandiford, who also faces charges of possession and selling narcotics, covered her face with a piece of cloth as she passed reporters to enter the courtroom.

Speaking to the court, prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan said: "The defendant acted against Indonesian law in smuggling illegal drugs classified under category one into the country.

"This offence carries a maximum penalty of death."

Sandiford appeared with a translator and said she had been given no access to a lawyer in person. She requested more time to find one.

But the panel of judges continued with the hearing, having postponed the trial last week for the same reason.

They agreed that an attorney would be appointed for her for the next session.

Sandiford then told the court she would challenge the prosecution indictment, arguing it was not accurate.

She said she would respond in full at her next hearing.

The trial was adjourned until October 10.

Previously, Sandiford, who is believed to have moved from Cheltenham to the north in 2007, is thought to have told police she only agreed to make the smuggling trip because her children in England were being threatened.

During her time in Cheltenham, it is believed she lived in Loweswater Road and Princess Elizabeth Way, and that her son Eliot, went to Bournside and later Coln House School in Fairford.

Sandiford was listed as a housewife on immigration documentation.

She flew to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok on May 19.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws.

Its laws divide drugs into three categories.

The first listing those considered most serious, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

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