By PAUL STARICK in Medan
ADELAIDE teacher Graham Payne is playing chess with Indonesian police who confirm he will not face charges carrying the death penalty.
After meeting with a lawyer for the first time yesterday afternoon, Payne was shifted to a cell adjacent to the Medan drug squad's dispatch desk, where the keen chess player enjoyed a game with a drug squad officer.
Payne, who has refused interview requests, is understood to be planning to issue an apology to Australians for any offence his predicament has caused.
It is understood Payne plans to blame his drug use on a battle with depression, from which he sought drug refuge.
Medan Drug Commissioner Irwan Anwar yesterday told The Advertiser police planned to charge Payne for possession of 0.1g of crystal methamphetamine, or shabu, and at least one syringe containing traces of heroin.
Mr Anwar said these charges would carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
In Payne's home, police found 2106 ephedrine tablets, which can be used to manufacture amphetamines, but MrAnwar said these had been deemed "pharmaceutical" drugs - not illegal - so Payne would not face charges over them. "Police decide they are not (illegal) drugs but pharmaceutical," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "He's not being charged as a dealer. He is a user, not a seller."
However, he said "there's no prescription from a doctor" for the pills and they still would be taken to court as evidence of the contents of Payne's home.
"Graham has not said where he bought the drugs," Mr Anwar said, or given details of his dealer.
Payne, 20, a former student at Prince Alfred College and Pembroke, was arrested in a Medan street after a three-day surveillance operation on Saturday night, when Indonesian police allegedly saw him with a known drug dealer.
There is some speculation that Payne might plead guilty to the possession charges in a bid to have his sentence reduced, particularly if that results in a discount for a first offence. Police have issued a public notification that he is being investigated under psychotropic and anti-narcotic drug laws. Mr Anwar said this investigation was nearly complete and he might present charges to a prosecutor.
The complex nature of the Indonesian legal system means the maximum jail terms for these charges could vary from several days to 10 years.
A Medan newspaper yesterday reported that Payne had told police he had used crystal methamphetamine occasionally since his second year of high school, because the drugs helped him deal with a sleeping problem.