In Brief

Brit facing 15 years in Indonesian jail over cannabis oil

Cornish artist Pip Holmes arrested after allegedly going to collect package containing 31kg of medicinal THC oil

A British man has admitted that he has been “very stupid” after being arrested in Indonesia for allegedly smuggling cannabis oil.

Pip Holmes, a 45-year-old artist from Cornwall, was one of five foreigners “paraded at a news conference in Denpasar, the capital of Bali province, last week”, Sky News reports.

The divorced father-of-two was arrested for drug smuggling on 3 December after going to collect a package containing almost 31kg of cannabis oil, according to Indonesian authorities. 

Holmes insists he was caught with just 3g of medicinal THC oil that he had asked a friend to send him from Thailand, to help treat his arthritis.

As the BBC notes, Indonesia has very strict anti-drugs laws and has repeatedly arrested foreigners on drug-related charges, which can carry the death penalty.

Holmes arrived in Bali in October to spend a couple of months painting and surfing. He says that he was aware of the drug penalties and that his actions were “foolish and dumb”.

His family fear he could face a jail sentence of up to 15 years, but are hoping that he can “instead serve a short spell in a rehabilitation centre before being deported to the UK”, reports The Daily Telegraph. They have launched a crowdfunding page to raise $100,000 (£80,000) to pay for his legal fees.

In a message posted on the crowdfunding page, Holmes said that he had spent almost a week in a police cell before being moved to a rehab centre after failing a drug test.

He writes: “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.

“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.”

The message continues: “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.

“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.”

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