Nightclub promoters sent to Bali’s toughest jail
Wearing shackles on their arms in the blazing tropical sun, two Melbourne nightclub promoters were handed over to prosecutors today in Bali accused of cocaine possession.
Melbourne men, William Cabantog, 35 and David Van Iersel, 38, were arrested in July after a police raid on the Lost City nightclub in trendy Canggu.
Through his lawyer, Cabantog - who is alleged to have been carrying 1.2 grams from cocaine, claims that has been using cocaine since the age of 15.
His lawyer also said Cababtog suffers from depression and anxiety and has previously attended rehabilitation in Australian.
Van Iersel, also through his lawyer, claims he is a drug addict.
The men face a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison but more lenient sentences if they are proved to be users and not drug dealers.
Police allege the pair, who have been transferred from lock up cells to Bali's toughest prison - Kerobokan - both tested positive to narcotics following urine and blood tests, and that they were carrying 1.12 grams of cocaine plus a pair of electronic scales.
The pair arrived at the prosecutor's office handcuffed together and made no comment.
"He (Van Iersel) is an addict. Addiction - the body need drugs to boost energy or something like that. It's not for recreation. He (has) used cocaine for a long time," said lawyer Yoga Cahyadi.
The lawyer said Van Iersel is already undergoing rehabilitation while he has been detained.
Van Iersel and Cabantog have opted to have different lawyers and police split their case files.
"We will be arguing that the evidence is a tiny bag of cocaine that was found on William not David. That is for sure part of our argument," said Van Iersel's lawyer Mr Cahyadi.
Cabantag's lawyer Mr Ida Bagus Gamilang Galih Sakti said that his client is "happy" to have moved into Kerobokan jail.
"William has medical report that says he has depression, anxiety and a mental disorder. He already had rehabilitation in Australia," Mr Sakti said.
The lawyer said he has obtained Mr Cabantog's drug rehabilitation report from Australia, and said the man he been using drug since he was 15.
"We will argue that he is an addict not a dealer. It is almost three months since he has been in prison. He is not part of a cocaine trafficking (cartel). He was in the wrong place and wrong situation. He has been using since he was 15 and the Government needs to help him stop (using drugs). He needs to be rehabilitated," Mr Sakti said.
Chief of General Crime Section Denpasar Prosecutor Wayan Eka Widanta said the judicial system has 20 days to bring the men to court for their trial.
They have been held for more than three months in holding cells. Typically is takes about 60 days for an investigation to be finalised and handed to the prosecutor.
"Both are charged with article 112 of the narcotics laws and we have split their files. If article 127 proves they are users, they can be rehabilitated," Mr Widanta said indicating the a much lower sentence is possible.
The two men were living life in the fast lane in Bali's flashy Canggu where they promoted a popular nightclub called Lost City.
It is understood that police seized CCTV footage from the club's office, which will be used as evidence.
Both men are believed to have told police that they bought the cocaine from a man known only as 'N' and who remains on a police search list.
It is understood that 'N' fled from Bali to Singapore as soon as the raid on the nightclub was made public.
In July, when the duo was arrested a police press release was issued claiming that Cabantog was in the office of Lost City with David Dick Johanes Van Iersel using a 'suspicious motion'.
The statement claimed that the police sting found a small bag of cocaine in Cabantog's jeans pocket.
Melbourne nightclub figures Rory Higgins and Gehan Rajapakse have been photographed with Cabantog having high times at the warehouse style Canggu club that promises "bangerz, dope beats, and good vibes".
The club was open for just four months before becoming the centre of a drugs bust and investigation.
Cabantog was a well known player in Melbourne party scene but moved to Bali last year.
Social media framed Cabantog's life as a party of endless sun, champagne and 'Insta-famous' models.
He was well-established in Melbourne as 'man who made thing happens' in the club scene.
He has been snapped on the town in Bali with The Bachelor wildcard Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins and hanging out at the Bond Bar in Melbourne with Collingwood Football Club president Eddie McGuire.
In Bali today, both men were more introspective and refused to say a single word to the media.
However, the cuffs on their wrists made clear the ordeal ahead of them.