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Michelle will be freed soon and then deported home

Long journey: Michelle Leslie and Renae Lawrence are escorted to their respective drug trials in Denpasar on Friday
After three terrifying months Michelle Leslie is planning a swift flight to freedom and a reunion with her boyfriend and family in Australia - but with her release from a Bali jail just days away the model could face the final indignity of being deported.

After a dramatic week following revelations in The Sun-Herald linking Leslie to the son of a senior Indonesian minister, it now appears she will be freed within two weeks and her legal team is anxious to get her out of the country as quickly as possible.

"She is desperate to return home and we will be leaving at the first available opportunity so she can be reunited with her family and boyfriend," Leslie's spokesman in Bali, Sean Mulcahy, said.

But Australian consular officials say it is unlikely Leslie's camp will have much control over her departure.

The vice-consul in Denpasar, Brian Diamond, said "standard procedure" for a foreign tourist being released from prison was to be handed from prison authorities to immigration officials, taken to the airport and held there until the first available fight out.

Leslie's desire for a quick departure was highlighted on Friday, after she gave testimony at her trial for possession of two ecstasy tablets.

In a statement later, Leslie said she had been "absolutely terrified" since her arrest in August outside a dance party in Bali.

Last week, Bali newspapers reported that Leslie, 24, was with the son of a senior Government official when she was arrested, and that the truth of her arrest had been covered up to protect him.

The Sun-Herald revealed that the official in question was the Indonesian Economics Minister Aburizal Bakrie, who is also a powerful businessman.

In an extraordinary week, the Bakrie family at first denied that they even knew Leslie, then admitted through a lawyer that one of Mr Bakrie's son's, Anindra, 24, "probably" met her on the night of the dance party but was not with her when she was arrested.

The Bakries had threatened legal action against The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age for publishing allegations they initially described as "rubbish" and "character assassination".

When Leslie gave evidence at her trial on Friday, the Bakrie link was the elephant in the room: neither Leslie, her lawyers nor prosecutors mentioned it.

But Leslie did testify that, along with her friend Mia, who has since disappeared, there were three men in the car with her.

She said she did not know their names. But after she was caught, Mia had said to her: "Whatever you do don't say anything, don't tell on anyone and if anything happens we will fix it."

But prosecutors did not press Leslie for further details. After the hearing, they said blood and urine tests showing a positive result to ecstasy proved Leslie was a drug user.

This means she can face an alternative charge carrying a maximum three-month jail term - rather than the 15 years possible for possession.

Prosecutors indicated that at her next appearance on Tuesday, they would ask for the lesser term - and with her having already served almost three months, she is likely to be freed from prison within days of that hearing.

Leslie has not seen her boyfriend, Scott Sutton, or her parents since her arrest. Mr Sutton said in an interview two months ago that Leslie was "the absolute love" of his life.

Source: The Sun-Herald

  • Michelle Leslie Case Information

  • Police check model's link to minister

    Michelle Leslie to a court room during her trail in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. Leslie, who appeared for her second day of her trial, was arrested in Bali in possession of two ecstasy pills. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

    INDONESIAN police have tried to meet Michelle Leslie in prison amid a storm over allegations that she was with the son of a senior Indonesian minister on the night she was caught with drugs outside a Bali dance party.

    Prison sources said plain-clothes police were sent to Kerobokan jail yesterday to see the Australian model after it was reported that she was arrested in the company of a son of Economics Minister Aburizal Bakrie. The reports were denounced as "rubbish" by the Bakrie family.

    It was not clear last night whether she had spoken to the officers, or who had asked the police to go to the prison.

    Leslie's Bali spokesman, Sean Mulcahy, continued to refuse comment on the Bakrie reports.

    "The evidence in this case is contained in the prosecution brief, including the statement of Miss Leslie's," he said.

    "All the recent issues raised are not relevant to the facts in issue in this case and we maintain our consistent position of not commenting on these matters."

    In her earlier police interview, Leslie made no mention of the Bakrie son and said she did not know the identity of some of the people who were in a car with her when she was caught with two ecstasy tablets in her handbag.

    As Leslie faced renewed pressure three days before the resumption of her trial, a lawyer for the Bakrie family said legal action was being considered against The Sunday Age, which first named Bakrie in connection with the case.

    Bali newspapers had earlier reported Leslie's link to a senior government official and suggested that her arrest was covered up to protect him.

    Bakrie family spokesman Lalu Mara Satriawangsa summoned the media yesterday and said the reports amounted to character assassination and were an attempt to undermine Mr Bakrie senior, whom he called the "icon of the family".

    Mr Satriawangsa said most of the Bakrie family had been in Bali on the weekend that Leslie was arrested.

    The family was on the island for a concert at GWK Park, which was held the night after the dance party at which Leslie was caught. He said he had asked Mr Bakrie's sons, Anindya Nivian, 28, and Anindra Ardiansyah, 25, and both had denied being with Leslie, or even knowing her.

    "There is nothing between Leslie and the Bakrie family. None of the sons was there, none of the sons knows Leslie.

    "None of them were in the (car), none of them were with Leslie. We didn't even know she exists. Who is this Leslie? We just heard of her."

    Mr Satriawangsa said newspapers had been unethical in not seeking the family's comments. The Sunday Age and The Age have tried unsuccessfully since Saturday to contact the Bakrie family for comment.

    Mr Bakrie has long been an influential businessman, with extensive interests including property and the media.

    In September, it was announced that Star TV, Rupert Murdoch's Asian network, had bought a 20 per cent stake in Mr Bakrie's ANTV in Indonesia. Anindya Nivian, who is married, is the chairman of ANTV.

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