A BRITISH man arrested in Bali for allegedly smuggling cannabis oil has admitted he has been “very stupid” as he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Pip Holmes, reportedly a 45-year-old from Cornwall, was one of five foreigners paraded at a news conference last week in Denpasar and has said he is “sick with fear”.
Indonesian police said he received nearly 31kg of cannabis oil in the mail and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Mr Holmes, who describes himself as an artist and surfer, claims he was caught with just a tiny amount – around 3g – of medicinal THC oil, which he uses to treat his arthritis. He was arrested on Dec 3 as he went to pick up a package from Thailand which contained essential oil bottles with cannabis oil inside.
A message from Mr Holmes on the crowdfunding site said he had already been moved from a cramped police cell in Bali to a rehabilitation centre and has been helped by messages of support from his family.
“For the last few days, each morning I have woken up in a terrible nightmare. I still can’t believe that I’m here and I feel sick with fear,” he said.
He continued: “As it stands, I don’t know if I’m about to spend a few months in a rehabilitation or if I’m about to face five to 15 years in Kerobokan – one of the toughest prisons on earth.”
Mr Holmes said he had been in Bali for two months before his arrest on December 3. Despite his lawyers arguing he was a drug user – after he failed a drugs test – rather than a trafficker, he still faces the trafficking charge according to the BBC. However he told the broadcaster he did not fit this category, arguing “the law is very different in Bali and very harsh”.
And Mr Holmes says although the police reported that he was found with 31g of medicinal THC oil, that weight included the bottles which weighed 28g.
“It all went terribly wrong when I was arrested for possession of a tiny amount of THC oil. Stupid much? Yes very very stupid. Right now I feel helpless and very alone,” he said.
“This is Asia, it’s not like the west. I am guilty under Indonesian law of possession of narcotics, there’s no denying that. Even though medicinal THC is something so widely accepted elsewhere and it was such a small amount, I foolishly crossed the line in a very strict country.
“The only way now to ensure my sentence is something I will survive is to invest in the right legal representation and rehabilitation.”
His family has launched a crowdfunding page to raise 100,000 Aus dollars (nearly £80,000) for legal fees to keep the father-of-two out of prison.
They say he could face a jail sentence of between five and 15 years but are hoping he can instead serve a short spell in a rehabilitation centre before being deported to the UK.
The artist – who says his arthritis was caused by years of Thai boxing – told the BBC: “Marijuana makes a considerable difference to the pain – it’s not a leisure activity for me.
“I knew what I was getting into… I knew there were very strict laws but I chose to come here anyway because the surf is the best in the world.”
He added: “It feels like a great injustice, but I’m not in the UK, I’m in Bali, so it’s my own fault… I’m afraid because I don’t know how long it’s going to be before I can hug my children again. They are the only thing keeping me going right now.”
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Doctors have been able to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to patients in the UK since November 1 after the drug was rescheduled.
However, Indonesia has strict drug laws and dozens of convicted smugglers are on death row.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “Our staff are assisting a British man following his arrest in Bali, and are in contact with his family, lawyer and the Indonesian authorities.”
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