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Payne given nine months jail over drugs
Tuesday Dec 27

An Indonesian court has sentenced Australian Graham Payne to nine months in prison for possessing small amounts of crystal methamphetamine and heroin.

The 21-year-old Adelaide man has been in custody since his arrest in August in Medan on Sumatra.

With time already served, Payne - who had taught English at a school in Indonesia - could be released from Medan's Tanjung Gusta Prison in April.

He was also fined one million rupiah ($A137). Indonesian prosecutors had asked the Medan District Court earlier this month to jail Payne for one year. On Thursday they said they were considering whether to file an appeal for a tougher penalty.

Payne's defence lawyers were also considering whether to appeal to have him freed.

They had previously called on the trial's three-judge panel to show leniency, saying Payne had psychological problems and was not a trafficker.

Payne fronted the court on Thursday alone with no family or Australian friends present.

Before the judgment was handed down he confided with some reporters that he was "quite nervous" about the outcome.

He declined to comment after the one-hour hearing before he was taken back to prison.

Payne was arrested in Medan after he was stopped by police during a routine anti-drug operation while riding in a motorcycle taxi.

A body search uncovered a pouch of 0.1 gram of crystal meth, known locally as "shabu shabu", hidden in a cigarette packet in his pocket.

Police said a search of Payne's nearby home uncovered two heroin-filled syringes and one syringe containing crystal meth.

Also found was a collection of 11 kinds of prescription drugs, including anti-malarial, ephedrine and anti-diarrhoea drugs.

During the trial, defence lawyer Karle Sitanggang said Payne had undergone treatment for bipolar disorder in Australia.

In his sentencing statement, Chief Judge I Wayan Padang Pujawa acknowledged that Payne had turned to drugs because of depression.

"The defendant is actually a victim who should be protected," the judge said.

"It is our duty as a society to help people who suffer depression."

However, the judge said Payne's actions were against Indonesian law and he had "endangered himself as well as the people around him".

He complimented Payne for behaving "politely and frankly" during the trial.

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