In the conclusion of a court case that marked a grim chapter in Bali's hospitality scene, I Gede Wijaya, 39, the proprietor of Uncle Benz Cafe in Badung, has been slapped with a 1.5-year prison term for his role in the fatal assault on Australian man, Johnston McCallum Scott, 41.
The sentence was delivered by the judges at Denpasar District Court yesterday.
"Having tried and found the defendant to be convincingly proven to have committed the criminal act of fatal assault, the defendant is sentenced to one year and six months in prison. The period of detention shall be deducted from the imposed sentence," said Judge Gede Putra Astawa.
The legal tussle centered around Wijaya's actions, which, the judges ruled, met the criteria of assault culminating in the victim's untimely demise as prescribed by Article 351 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code (KUHP). Scott's life was tragically cut short, and Wijaya's decision to abandon him while he lay incapacitated weighed heavily in the court's deliberations.
As previously reported, Wijaya and Johnston drank arak (traditional liquor) together on Feb. 23 at the former's cafe. The victim soon became inebriated and urinated on Wijaya's left leg. Wijaya told the Aussie to cut it out, but Johnston allegedly threw glass cups at him.
Wijaya said that Johnston then lifted a barstool with the intention of throwing it at him. Wijaya claims he managed to grab the barstool off of the victim, before fatally bashing him in the head with it.
"Leaving the victim alone is inexcusable. The defendant could have called for an ambulance to assist the victim. His self-defense led to someone being injured and losing their life," Judge Astawa remarked.
Wijaya, via his legal counsel Tyas Yunia, acknowledged the court's decision. Tyas noted that her client's inaction in aiding the distressed victim added a layer of culpability that could not be brushed aside.
Prosecutor Si Ayu Alit Sutari Dewi, who had initially sought a more stringent three-year prison sentence for Wijaya, said she would mull over whether to appeal the sentence or not.