Anyone depicting the Indonesian justice system as cruel and unmerciful, best think again.
As reported previously on Balidiscovery.com [See: Care for a Brazil Nut?], a 24-year-old Brazilian man irrevocably shattered the lives of numerous Balinese when he went "wild" after a full night of partying on September 18, 2008. Early on that morning, a very drunk Guilherme Guedes violently attacked a Balinese man driving a delivery truck and broke the window of the truck. After biting the truck driver's hand and beating him about the face, Guedes then stole the vehicle and embarked on a zigzag chase through the streets of Kuta. In a drunken stupor, the Brazilian drove the stolen vehicle into a group of Balinese on their way to the morning market, killing a 26-year-old Mother and sending 4 others to hospital with broken bones and other wounds. After that accident Guedes was cornered by an angry crowd who stripped him and began administering summary justice before he was rescued by police who arrived on the scene.
In the course of a single night of revelry the Brazilian had committed criminal assault, engaged in public drunkenness, stole a vehicle which he drove recklessly at high speed while intoxicated, committed manslaughter and caused grievous bodily harm to 4 people. And, while in most jurisdictions such behavior might have resulted in decades behind bars, the now contrite Gilherme Guedes has benefited from the leniency of Balinese judges and the forgiveness of his victims' families.
The Brazilian, who is a student in Australia, received a sentence of only three months, minus time served, from Judge IGN Adhi Wardhana last week.
In rendering the remarkably lenient sentence, the panel of judges cited the man's age, his polite demeanor before the courts, his willingness to pay the cost of educating the victim's child and other restitutions, and the fact that the man was still a student.
Guedes' attorney, Erwin Siregar, rejected claims that his client was punished too lightly. According to Siregar, Guedes had accepted responsibility for his actions, paid restitution of Rp. 60 million (US$5,500) to the truck owner; purchased a new motorbike for one of his victims; and agreed to pay for the education of the dead woman's child. Siregar told the press, "I feel this decision is fair."
The judges also took into consideration statements from the injured victims and family of the deceased woman who had accepted Guedes efforts at monetary restitution and sincere apologies for his thoughtless acts.
Credited with time served since his arrest on September 18, 2008, the Brazilian will be eligible for release from prison before Christmas. Prosecutors who demanded 6 months imprisonment for the man are thought to be unlikely to appeal the Court's lenient sentence.
Sentence Not Universally Applauded
Meanwhile, Drs. I Nyoman Sarjana, a community leader in Legian has roundly condemned the leniency of the sentence given to Guedes, claiming the judges showed the weakness of Indonesian judges when confronted with a foreign criminal. Sarjana, who was accompanied by I Nyoman Enteg, one of the men struck by the truck driven by Geuedes, told Denpost that beyond any good behavior shown by the Brazilian during the course of the trial, the punishment of the court does not match the crime. Pointing to Enteg who must still walk with the aid of a cane because of the injuries the Brazilian inflicted, Sarjana said that if a driver is found guilty of driving while intoxicated abroad he can lose driving privileges for several years. He complained that in the case at hand, three months imprisonment did not address the death, injuries and material damage that resulted from the Brazilian's criminally irresponsible behavior.
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