‘Terrible nightmare’: Briton Pip Holmes, arrested in Bali over cannabis oil ‘to treat arthritis’, could face 15 years in jail
- Cannabis oil is available by prescription in the UK, but is strictly prohibited in Indonesia
A British man who was arrested in Bali for possession of cannabis oil says he is now living a “terrible nightmare” and faces a jail term of up to 15 years.
Pip Holmes, 45, was arrested on December 3 for possession of what he described as “a tiny amount of THC oil”, which he had sent to him in Indonesia to help with his arthritis pain.
He was one of five people arrested by Indonesian police for alleged drug smuggling last week in Denpasar, the capital of Bali province.
Indonesia has strict drug laws, with dozens of convicted smugglers currently on death row, including the British citizens Gareth Cashmore and Lindsay Sandiford.
Holmes, from Cornwall, said police stated that the weight of the bottles he received in the post from a friend in Thailand was 31g (1.1oz), which equates to around 3g (0.1 oz) of cannabis oil.
“I am guilty under Indonesian law of possession of narcotics, there’s no denying that,” he wrote on a website set up to raise US$100,000 for his legal representation.
“Even though medicinal THC is something so widely accepted elsewhere and it was such a small amount, I foolishly crossed the line in a very strict country. The only way now to ensure my sentence is something I will survive is to invest in the right legal representation and rehabilitation.”
Holmes, who described himself as a painter and surfer, spent six days in a police cell before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility after his lawyers argued that he was a drug user rather than a drug trafficker.
The Briton, whose two children live in the UK with his former wife, said: “For the last few days, each morning I have woken up in a terrible nightmare. I still can’t believe that I’m here and I feel sick with fear.
“As it stands, I don’t know if I’m about to spend a few months in rehabilitation or if I’m about to face five to 15 years in Kerobokan – one of the toughest prisons on earth.”
A statement on the fundraising website read: “Pip made a very grave error of judgement and is extremely sorry. As the people who love him, we simply can’t face watching him serve five to 15 years in one of the toughest prisons in the world or worse.
“There is a legal team in Bali that can help him get into a rehab facility instead. There he would serve a few months and also get the help he needs. He doesn’t deserve a long sentence. He needs our help.”
A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “Our staff are assisting a British man following his arrest in Bali, and are in contact with his family, lawyer and the Indonesian authorities.”
Following a series of high-profile cases involving children in the UK being denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures, the UK home secretary announced earlier this year that cannabis-derived medicine would be made available via prescription.