Australian man, 49, jailed in Bali for seven months after he was caught with the drug hashish
A Perth man has been sentenced to seven months in prison after he was busted with an illegal drug in his Bali home last year.
Giuseppe ‘Joe‘ Serafino had lived in Bali for five years when he was arrested with less than 8 grams of hashish by Denpasar police on October on October 8.
Arriving at Court on Tuesday to hear his fate, the 49-year-old spat at an Australian cameraman and threw water at a photographer as he was being led in.
But he appeared calm as Chief Judge Erwin Djong sentenced him to seven months for drug use, finding he had used hashish to ‘reduce his pain‘.
Serafino‘s seven month sentence is the same jail term as that handed to former Reuters war correspondent, British man David Fox, for also using hashish.
The Bali bar owner worked with local police, only hours after his own arrest, to set up a sting on Fox, with Serafino luring him to his On On Bar in Sanur.
With time already served, both men could be out of prison within two months.
Prosecutors, who had called for a one-year jail term, said they are still considering whether to appeal.
Initially facing charges of drug possession and transportation both Serafino and Fox could have faced 12 years in prison had they been convicted.
However both charges were downgraded to just use, which carries a maximum of four years.
Serafino previously said he began using marijuana in 2007 while still in Australia for pain relief.
It was a practice he continued in Bali – buying hashish from someone at the fast food restaurant McDonald‘s for around three million rupiah ($A300).
In a letter handed to court earlier this month by Dr Colin Hughes said Serafino developed cervical spinal compression in 2006, resulting in severe pain.
While he was prescribed a strong pain killer and valium, Dr Hughes wrote that Serafino began to self-medicate with cannabis – resulting in addiction and an ‘exacerbated ideation regarding jealousy towards his wife and moderately severe depression‘.
In 2009, he developed further spinal problems before being diagnosed with a mouth condition in 2010.
Despite living in the popular tourist town Sanur for more than five years, Serafino told Denpasar Court during his trial that he did not know doing drugs in Indonesia was ‘such a big crime‘.
Judge Djong found Serafino, who is being held at Kerobokan prison, was polite during the trial and had no previous offences.
But he said there was ‘no excuse or justification‘ for what he had done and that he needed to be rehabilitated.
Fox was found to have been using hashish to help him sleep as a result of trauma from reporting from numerous war zones.