Australian man dodges a Bali jail cell

Cindy Wockner and Komang ErvianiAAP
Perth man Aaron Wayne Coyle has been convicted of a drugs charge in Bali.
Camera IconPerth man Aaron Wayne Coyle has been convicted of a drugs charge in Bali.

Perth man Aaron Wayne Coyle has avoided a Bali jail cell but instead will serve his drugs sentence in a mental health hospital.

Coyle appeared virtually in a Bali court on Thursday to hear his verdict after his arrest last year on drugs charges.

Judges found Coyle guilty of using drugs for himself and sentenced him to 10 months in a rehabilitation centre.

The former Perth man avoided serving his sentence in Bali's Kerobokan jail after judges found he was a drug user and addict and had been using drugs for the past 20 years.

Instead he will serve the balance of his 10 months - less time served since his arrest in September 2020 - in the Bangli mental health hospital.

Coyle, who was stuck in Bali as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, was arrested in possession of 1.23 grams of methamphetamine.

Handing down the verdict on Thursday, presiding judge Putra Atmaja said that the trial had not revealed any reason that Coyle should go free.

"Based on medical assessments, the defendant has been using drugs for 20 years,' the judge said.

He said that Coyle had a medical history of depression, requiring medication every day.

"However because of COVID-19 the defendant can't go back to his own country and his medication has run out. He decided to use methamphetamine to reduce his pain," Judge Atmaja said.

"The defendant has a will to be free from drugs. The medical assessment is that the defendant needs medical and social rehabilitation. The medical assessment found that the defendant is suffering from drug abuse and bipolar disorder and needs medical and social rehabilitation.

"Based on the witnesses and evidence we conclude that the defendant was a drug user."

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