By Edith Bevin and Cindy Wockner in Bali - August 22, 2005
A TOP Sydney model arrested in Bali on drugs charges is nervously awaiting test results to confirm whether pills allegedly found in her bag are ecstasy.
Michelle Leslie, 24, who has worked for Myer and was the face of Antz Pantz, could face up to 10 years in prison after one or two pills were allegedly found in her purse in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Leslie, who is based in Sydney but has family in Adelaide, was arrested with four other people when police raided a party at the GWK Cultural Park, a large public auditorium on the cliffs near Kuta.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Tests on the drugs were being conducted today.
If the matter does reach court, Ms Leslie, who was on holiday in Bali with friends after working in Singapore, is likely to face charges of drug possession that carry a maximum jail term of 10 years under tough Indonesian anti-narcotics laws.
But a Bali police source said she would more likely face a punishment similar to that given to Adelaide man John Julian Pyle, who earlier this month escaped with a relatively light five-month jail term for using hashish.
Pyle, 42, was arrested in May and charged with possessing 1.8g of cannabis resin allegedly bought off the street in Kuta for 200,000 rupiah ($27) per gram.
Ms Leslie is the latest Australian caught up in a police crackdown on drug use in Indonesia ordered by the new national police chief, General Sutanto, a former head of the country's anti-narcotics board.
Ms Leslie is being held in dingy cells at Bali police headquarters, where alleged heroin smugglers the Bali nine were held until recently, and, before them, Schapelle Corby.
Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the case was yet another reminder that Indonesia and other countries in South-East Asia took the issue of illicit drugs very seriously.
"Australians, particularly young Australians, need to remember that when they are travelling overseas," Senator Ellison said on Southern Cross radio.
There would "easily" be 40 to 50 Australians in custody in South-East Asia on drug matters, Senator Ellison said.
News of the new arrest came as the Federal Government said it was trying to contact Corby's Indonesian lawyer to confirm or deny talk that her jail term for drug smuggling would be cut in half.
"Certainly we've had no advice from Hotman Paris Hutapea," Senator Ellison said on ABC radio.
"We've been in contact with his office, they've yet to reply.
"I can say nothing more than I think it's just a rumour."
The rumour emerged on Friday, with Mr Downer saying Australian officials were working to verify the claim.
Senator Ellison said another of Corby's lawyers, Erwin Siregar, had denied the rumour.
"He was not aware of it, he thought it was a rumour," he said.
The three High Court judges considering Corby's appeal have until August 28 to either issue their decision or extend the deadline for another 30 days.
Ms Leslie was one of five people arrested in Saturday's raids, with four Indonesians aged between 26 and 35 years also taken into custody.
"According to the information our consul-general has, there were five of them who were picked up at the party on the allegation of possessing drugs," Mr Downer said on ABC radio.
"They have been taken into detention. The consul-general saw her last night to check on her welfare.
"The two alleged amphetamine tablets that she was detained with are being tested now to see whether that is what they really are, or whether they are something else.
"We will have to wait and see what the police subsequently do."
Ms Leslie, who models under the name Michelle Lee, lives with boyfriend Scott Sutton in Sylvania, southern Sydney.
Ms Leslie's parents, Albert and Violet Leslie, of Glenelg North, Adelaide, were told about their daughter's plight last night by Michelle's friends.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had not contacted the family.
Mr Leslie said that his daughter was extremely health conscious.
"She doesn't take drugs, she doesn't take cold tablets or Panadol. She won't even take anything when she's sick," he said.
Mr and Mrs Leslie have spoken to her boyfriend.
Ms Leslie had gone to a party with friends. Because she had a large handbag, other people stored their bags in hers, according to reports.
The drugs were found in a make-up bag, friends told The Daily Telegraph.
Mrs Leslie said she had warned her daughter against travelling to Bali.
"I've been telling her 'don't go to Bali'. I was scared. Not that she was going to do anything stupid but she's a young attractive girl and you don't know what people around her may do," Mrs Leslie said.
Ms Leslie text messaged her mother saying "Don't stress" about Bali. She assured her mother she was always "very careful".
The arrests were made at a party, called Vertigo Goes to Bali at the lotus pond area of the GWK park, better known as the location for the first anniversary commemoration of the Bali bombing. - With AAP