DISCUSSION: The Bali Boy

Earlier this week the 14 year old Australian boy who was being held in Bali came home. He pleaded guilty to carrying 3.6 grams of marijuana when police found and arrested him back in October.

What would have started as a budget friendly holiday has now cost the family what is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands in legal fees, and I’m assuming a frightening experience for the boy and his parents.

When he arrived home from his two month stay in the Jimbaran immigration detention centre, he was reportedly surrounded by police and managed to avoid the media. His identity is still unknown and his home has been barricaded with hessian to prevent media filming.


While I’m not sure of the families motives for going to such extremes to hide the boy’s identity, there has been some speculation that they will be looking for a big media deal. A deal would certainly help pay for some of their legal fees but would it make a celebrity out of someone who “did the wrong thing?”

In Australia we do have laws against profiting from crime, and any proceeds could potentially be confiscated by the Attorney General.

What do you think of the whole ideal? I can sympathize with the parents and he is only 14 and I think his punishment was pretty severe (even though it could have been a lot worse). Do you remember all the mistakes you made as a 14 year old?

And how would you feel if the family were to score a media deal? Would you do the same if it was you? I could sit here and be appalled at the idea, but as I don’t know their financial situation it is hard to judge. There is also the fact that I feel a little interested in the whole thing and I think it would be an interesting story. Having it out there may scare the pants off some of our teenagers and make them think twice about drugs. But it will depend how the story is told and how the boy is portrayed – rock star or remorse?

We will wait and see…

This week we are going to send the winner of this discussion a set of two mystery books. Want to win? Participate by commenting below. The winner will  be contacted by email so make sure your address is current. Competition closes 13th December 2011 Midnight AEST. Australian residents only. Check back next Wednesday for a new weekly discussion.

20 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: The Bali Boy

  1. Of course he has done the wrong thing, and definitely in the wrong place! I do wonder why the parents took him there in the first place if he had an existing drug problem, I understand maybe the holiday was to reward him or get him away from temptation, but that would have to be one of the last places you would consider!
    I believe the punishment, although would have been scary, is suitable, could have been much worse and in the end he has got off lightly considering the punishments that other offenders get.
    As a parent I understand them wanting to hide his identity, but I do not agree with any media deal to tell his story. Although he can’t profit from the deal and the money could go to charity, I think it is glorifying what he had done to a degree, especially if they managed a loop hole where they could keep the money and pay off their legal bills. Sure, it’s probably a lot of money they owe, but other people who do the wrong thing and end up with lawyer fees, court costs etc don’t get the chance to have a sit down with a reporter and get the bills paid!
    I hope the story is enough for other young people to seriously think twice about drugs, as in the end that is the important thing, I hope this young boy never touches anything again!

  2. I would be appalled if this boy or his parents profited from his story, what sort of message does that send to all the bad parents out there or their teenagers who might think that 2 months in a Bali prison for drug possession might be good to do if they could score a cool 2 or 3 hundred thousand dollars, sure would help with the mortgage or buy a nice car, why reward them for stupidity, it does not set a good example and the next teen might not be as lucky! I wont be watching any paid story on this at all!

  3. Oh gosh…Where to begin….
    Bali has strict laws regarding drug possession. We know this. It doesnt matter if we agree with their laws or we dont…these are the laws of Bali and if you dont want to deal with them then you dont go to Bali. I, like many other people dont understand why as parents you would take your 14 year old who indulges in drugs to a country where you know they have extreme laws regarding drugs, so extreem that if you are caught with drugs you could very well face the death penalty. I have a 15 year old daughter and I can tell you that if she had an addiction to any type of drug Bali would be one of the last places i would be taking her.
    I understand as a parent that you would do all you can to protect your child so im sure their legal bills are massive.
    No pocketmoney for Mr 14 and no parent funded mobile phone either. This kid needs to pay his parents back for some of the major expense they have gone to becasue of his foolishness.
    As a parent would i then want to strike a deal with the media to sell the story and get some lump sum payment? Im sure I would to help pay the bill but there would be another side to me where i very much wouldnt want my kids face plastered all over the media and there is no way i would want him to appear as some sort of hero.

    Many years ago with one of my older children i recieved a phone call “Hello Mrs xxxx Its Constable xxxx from the xxxx police…(I felt confused and mildly scared) Im sorry to have to call you and inform you that we have your daughter xxxx here and shes been caught shop lifting” …..
    I was silent…I thought NO…seriously???…I had never had a single problem with her. She was a straight A student and was very polite, people loved her, she spent a lot of her time fund raising for charity…what??….why????…. I simply said “You are kidding me”…
    He said “No im not but i wish i was…I can tell shes a good kid and from a good home…shes pretty upset and is in tears…we need you to come down here to get her”….
    I talked to him about what would happen and pretty much it was just a meeting with someone at the policestation in a few weeks time and it wouldnt go to court or anything like that. I asked him please not to tell her this and that i wanted to inform her that there was a strong posibility that she would have to go to court and would end up with a permenant record which she would have to disclose to any future employer and it also meant that her dreams of travel to certain countries would not be happening as she would have a record. We told her that it could take 3 months to get a court date but until she had one she was grounded. The only time ever that i grounded her.
    She was scared crazy and she was very upset and said how embarassing it must have been for me and how disappointed i must have been. I asked her why she did this and she said “Mum I honestly dont know”….she was with 3 other girls and none of the others took anything…just her.
    It took 4 weeks for the appointment at the policestation where she was given a stern talking to and we played the “well you are lucky because the company has decided not to press charges” ….
    I to this day ..all these years later I still have not told her that we made up that story to scare her crazy.
    Oh…and what did she get caught shoplifting??? A $2 pair of underwear. yup…I said to her…you had money…you could have paid for it. She said “I know mum…im sorry…i dont know why but i promise you i will never do anything bad ever again”…..and she never has….she was 14.

    I hope this 14 year old boy has been scared crazy and now he will never, ever touch drugs again…..one can only hope.

  4. There was a case several years ago where a female model was arrested in Bali with a couple of ecstasy tablets. She escaped imprisonment by converting to Islam. It was suggested the conversion lasted only as long as her arrival back in Australia.

    We don’t know anything about this boy. We only have a story, one that helped get him a lenient sentence, that he was a drug user for several years. And that he would seek rehabilitation when he arrived home. Will that happen? I suggest we don’t blame the parents for taking him to Bali until we see the boy living up to the promises he made in the Indonesian court.

    Should the boy get paid for his story? Nope. But his parents should. Their crimes may only amount to bad parenting and insufficient moral lessons; crimes even the best parents can succumb to on occasions. Remember, the parents had no cannabis yet they stayed with their son in the Bali detention centre. That takes guts, commitment, dedication. I have no problem if they recoup their costs.

    They remind me of Terry Hicks, the father of David, the Australian “arrested” by US forces in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Terry Hicks, a quiet man from South Australia probably on the verge of retirement, fought for years to get his son released, or even for him to have a trial. He did it because that’s what a good father does. He played the media game, and it is a tough ugly game, and won. David has written a book. I hope he has given every single cent to his dad.

    But I should remind everyone: even if the family is going to get paid for their story, it’s not a hayride. Open the media door and it never closes. A “soft” interview can turn ugly and probing in a minute. Rival organisations will set to expose secrets or just make up untruths. Depending on audience reaction, forever after the family could be heroes (like Sophie Delizio) or a venue for more sensation (like Schapelle Corby). Whatever, the spotlight may never dim. $200,000 – the figure I’ve heard the family may sell the story for – sounds like a lot, but over a lifetime?

    To be honest, I’m not interested in the story and I don’t think it will serve as a lesson against drugs for other teens. But I wish the boy and his family a peaceful and, in future, uneventful life.

  5. I agree that this is a really hard one to be on one side or the other. I have heard many stories where people are set up by the police in Bali and I think that is appalling too.
    Yes he is very young and I think that the experience should have sent him straight, but most importantly I do feel for the parents that have had to pay so much money.
    If they make a deal with the media to claim back some of the money that they have had to fork out, well I say good on them.
    I have nieces and nephews around the same age and I know that it could very well have been one of them, and I dont think it is always about bad parenting as teens have minds of their own.
    Should the parents really have to keep on paying for their teens mistake?? I guess that is up to the judges.
    I wish this family love and hope for their future.

  6. I don’t know the boy and I know his Dad got on the news last night (or yesterday) and said how sorry his son was for doing what he did, thing is, I remember watching him on the news over in Bali when he was going between the jail and the court and he’d be doing those ridiculous hand gestures, which made him look really cocky. Not good. I think the ski masks and dark sunnies etc are all a bit too much. I HOPE he is mature enough to of learnt from this situation and hopefully he will stop using drugs, they always lead to no good!! He is guilty but I don’t think a Bali prison is the place for a 14 yr old, no matter what he did.
    My daughter will be doing schoolies in 2 years and I’ve told her to forget Bali as a schoolies destination. I will not allow her to go there. It’s unsafe and you cannot trust the police over there. I’m sure they do set people up with drugs over there, just so they can get massive amounts of money off the foreigners, who buy their way out.

  7. Don’t know the family but am wondering why a 14 year old was allowed by his parents to wander Bali alone ,to buy drugs and into a massage parlour!Bali is notorious for setting traps for tourists,so why weren’t his parents with him?He came across as very “cocky” and makes me wonder has he learn’t a lesson,I think not and I hope he does not go to school bragging of his “adventure”He should be thinking of his parents who by now are probably in debt and will be for a long time.Also Bali needs to take a good look at itself,they plead for the tourists to come and help them but until the corruption,traps and bad “justice” system is fixed I am staying well away!

  8. My concern is were the parents doing obviously not being the so called concerned parents they came across once the boy was in trouble with the law.
    Haven’t they heard about what has happened in the past with the Bali nine or Chapell Corby…drugs are a serious matter in Bali.
    This child is only 14 he may appear to look older because of his height but he is not a local yet here he is walking around on his own as if he was in his local suburb doing what any normal child would be doing. But he is not a normal child anymore.
    He is very fortunate that he can come back to Australia and live as normal a life as possible but let’s just hope that he isn’t allowed to make a mockery of this whole incident through the media or on his Facebook site

  9. as a parent, i think it would be ok for them to recover what they have spent on getting freedom for their son, any honest parent would do their utmost for their own children

  10. Its just so wrong that he was able to buy drugs in the first place, I agree with others that said why was he wandering around alone. Possibly his parents did not know he had a drug problem but even so, he should be supervised being in a foreign country. I think he was very lucky to get the sentence he did and was able to come home, while other’s have to stay there and possibly get the death penalty. I know the other man that recently was caught over there from Perth and think it is very silly that people do not think they will get caught. I really hope this young man has learnt something from this and I do not feel that he should be treated as some sort of celebrity, but should be able to get on with his life and his family. I hope he has the respect for his parents to behaving in a suitable manner after this because they have been put through hell also. I just feel sorry for them.

  11. The boys’ parents must not watch the news if they didn’t realise that anyone partaking of drugs should not go anywhere near Indonesia.
    The boy did the time, he got off lightly and was very lucky, the fact that the parents are now in debt and owe a great deal of money should reflect on their own punishment for their son. This is one debt that he should pay his parents back for when he is earning money.
    Having said all of that, I am appalled that the Bali Bombers are already free and drug users are still rotting in Indonesian jails!
    We know that Indonesias’ laws favour the terrorists and come down heavy on other crimes and any Australian who thinks that they can get away with buying, selling or using drugs there is insane

    I am 100% against the media paying for the story, even if the money does go to charity, this is a shameful episode in this boy and his parents’ life and should not be glorified

  12. The blame lays completely with the parents of this 14 year old. Why would anyone consider taking a child, and he is still a child at 14, to Bali when it is very well know to have strict laws relating to drug use and trafficking. It is not easy bringing up teenagers, and keeping control until adult age is difficult, but it must be done or suffer the consequences. How come this child is already taking drugs?
    Being paid for their story when the parents were completely wrong only condones their actions. Life is hard, so lets get tougher or our children will suffer.

  13. The boy is old enough to know what the difference from wrong to right is,he should of got longer,its not fair,look at poor schapelle corbi,he thinks he is young and can get away from doing it,sounds like hes a little Shit and needs to take responsibilty for his actions!!!!!

  14. I understood that the parents were aware of their son’s drug problem, and that it was not a new problem either. My brother and I weren’t allowed to wander around alone or together when in unfamiliar surroundings even in the country areas in the state we live in at 14. Abuse of many types wasn’t as prevalent when we were young. Drugs were not sold on the streets or at schools
    At school in the late eighties relatives of mine were taught in the few weeks that they had rights, and if they didn’t to do what their parents asked them to do they didn’t have to. If that is still policy, what hope do parents have if children are encouraged to report their parents if they ignore them and the parents yell at them – it is verbal and emotional abuse. Some students took it too far and became disruptive in class My niece is teaching her daughter that she must listen to and do as they, and teachers will ask her to do when she starts school (she had transition classes last week.). I hope education policy has changed or there is going to be one very confused little great-niece of mine.

  15. Considering the recent news on people like the “Bali nine” and the fact that Bali airport has signs everywhere about people and drugs and the penalties… He is lucky to have only received what he did in sentence and I agree with others, to profit from this woud be wrong, even if it is just to recoup legal fees. No one can rightfully say he didn’t know what he was doing and the consequences if he got caugth.

  16. I remember being 14 and making mistakes, I am just lucky that i din’t live in Bali when I made them. I have learnt from my mistakes as do many teenagers, that’s how we become adults. If my parents are anything to go by, they would have hidden my idenity as well to protect me, that’s what parents do. And I have no personal knowledge of the family I think it would be unfair of me to pass judgment on them or their son. I feel for them and the ordeal they had to go through and hopefully their son has come away from this experience with a greater respect of the law and uses this to educate other teenagers. As for the mention of a book deal I guess we will all have to wait and see. I am however appaled at the lack of compassion from people and I hope they all think back to when they were teenagers and what they were getting up to…..

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