Australian faces death penalty in Bali

A former Australian airline executive could face the death penalty if he is convicted of drug trafficking in Bali.

Barry Wilfred Hess, 50, faced Denpasar District Court today for the first time since his arrest two months ago on the Indonesian resort island.

Prosecutors upgraded their charges against the former Ansett manager to include trafficking, which carries the death penalty.

He has been charged under the same article used in the Bali Nine heroin smuggling case. Six of the nine Australians involved are now on death row.

Hess, formerly of Melbourne, was arrested in August near his Kuta home after police discovered 14.4 grams of hashish and 2.7 grams marijuana.

"The primary charge is that the defendant ... on August 19 tried to offer for selling, distributing, handing over, or to become a broker in a drug deal," the indictment read to the court said.

"The drugs squad searched his body, his things, his house and the officers found in a table drawer in his room a plastic cube of two hashish packets."

Officers also found a clear plastic box containing the marijuana, the indictment said.

"The goods were about to be distributed by the defendant but he didn't do it because he was caught first."

A urine sample provided by Hess tested positive for the drugs, the indictment said.

Hess has also been charged with drug possession, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

He also faces a charge of drug use, with a maximum penalty of four years' jail plus a fine; and a fourth charge of being a drug user who failed to report to police, which carries a maximum six-month term.

If Hess is convicted, judges will have to decide which of the four charges to apply.

Hess declined to comment as he left the court today to return to Bali's Kerobokan Prison, where he is being held along with members of the Bali Nine, and convicted marijuana trafficker Schapelle Corby.


These are the men of H Block in Kerobokan prison, Denpasar - Bali's cellblock for drug-related offences. Many have HIV/AIDS. Drug use is a frequent method of passing on the deadly virus in Indonesia.