Neil Bantleman's family 'stunned' after acquittal overturned in Indonesia

The family of a Canadian schoolteacher say they're "completely stunned" after the Indonesian Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of Neil Bantleman and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.

See Full Article

Guy Bantleman, Neil's brother, said Thursday morning that heading into the verdict the family felt confident in the outcome.

"This came completely out of left field," Guy Bantleman told CTV's Canada AM from his home in Burlington, Ont.

Bantleman and Ferdinant Tijong were sentenced in April 2015 to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing three young children at a prestigious international school in Jakarta. They both maintained their innocence and filed appeals to the High Court, which acquitted them last August.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned the acquittal.

"The judge panel concluded that the defendants were proven to have violated the 2007 Child Protection Law," said Supreme Court spokesperson Suhadi, who uses a single name. "It did not only reinstate the District Court's verdict but also lengthened the sentence to 11 years."

The pair were also ordered to pay a $7,440 fine each or to serve six more months in jail.

Under Indonesian law, both Bantleman and Tijong still could challenge the sentence by filing for judicial review by the Supreme Court if they have new evidence.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said in a statement Thursday morning that the Canadian government is "deeply dismayed and shocked" by the Supreme Court's decision.

“This decision is unjust, given the many grave irregularities throughout the various proceedings in this case and the fact that all evidence presented by the defence has systematically been rejected. Mr. Bantleman and Mr. Tjiong were not provided the opportunity to demonstrate their innocence," Dion said. "Despite Canada’s repeated calls for due process, this case was not handled in a fair and transparent manner."

Dion said the outcome of the case has "serious implications" for Indonesia's reputation as a safe place for Canadians to work and travel.

He added that Canada would continue to raise Bantleman’s case at the highest levels while Canadian officials provide him with consular assistance.

Guy Bantleman said the family is meeting with Burlington MP Karina Gould on Thursday.

He said the "most daunting task" for his brother is dealing with the fact that he will be going back to prison.

Guy Bantleman said Neil Bantleman was not in Jakarta at the time the ruling was handed down, and he will be working with consular officials to turn himself in.

Meanwhile, Tijong was taken from his house early in the day and is now serving his sentence at the Cipinang Prison in eastern Jakarta, according to an officials from the prosecutors' office.

Both Bantleman and Tijong worked at the Jakarta International School, which is now called the Jakarta Intercultural School.

The 2,400 students in the school include children of foreign diplomats and expatriates from about 60 countries along with Indonesia's elite.

The school's principal and a number of other teachers have said they believe Bantleman is innocent.

Last December, five janitors at the school who were arrested in the same case were sentenced to up to eight years in jail. Police said a sixth suspect in that group committed suicide.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Iqaluit expects water testing to come back clean; tap water still undrinkable

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT -- Nunavut's capital city says it expects tests on its drinking water to show undetectable levels of fuel. Iqaluit is under a state of emergency and its roughly 8,000 residents haven't been able to consume tap water since Oct. Source
  • U.K. women boycotting clubs, pubs amid reports of drink spiking, needle injections

    World News CBC News
    Young women across the U.K. are boycotting nightclubs and pubs Wednesday as university towns and cities join in a national "girls night in" protest after increasing reports of drink spiking and students being drugged by needle injections. Source
  • New information raises questions about existence of brain syndrome in New Brunswick

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's health minister says an epidemiological report has found no known food, behaviour or environmental exposure that could have caused the symptoms of a mystery brain syndrome. Dorothy Shephard released the information on the heels of an outside report, which examined eight deaths in the province initially linked to the mystery syndrome and concluded they were all due to known diseases. Source
  • Report: At least 59,000 U.S. meat workers caught COVID-19, 269 died

    World News CTV News
    OMAHA -- At least 59,000 meatpacking workers caught COVID-19 and 269 workers died when the virus tore through the industry last year, which is significantly more than previously thought, according to a new U.S. House report released Wednesday. Source
  • Watchdog: 30 recent cases of violence to Afghan journalists

    World News CTV News
    ISLAMABAD -- More than 30 instances of violence and threats of violence against Afghan journalists were recorded in the last two months, with nearly 90% committed by the Taliban, a media watchdog said Wednesday. More than 40% of the cases recorded by The Afghanistan National Journalists Union were physical beatings and another 40% were verbal threats of violence, said Masorro Lutfi, the group's head. Source
  • U.S. provides 1st official confirmation of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test

    World News CBC News
    Top U.S. military officer Gen. Mark Milley has provided the first official U.S. confirmation of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing's pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American missile defences. Source
  • Brazil Senate hands pandemic probe to top prosecutor, few expect Bolsonaro charges

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- A Brazilian Senate panel probing the government's pandemic response on Wednesday presented the prosecutor general's office with recommendations to criminally charge President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged errors that cost Brazilian lives. Prosecutor General Augusto Aras was appointed by Bolsonaro in 2019 on the recommendation of conservative allies and is not expected to charge him. Source
  • Saskatchewan's new income support program doesn't give people enough money to cover rent: social worker

    Canada News CBC News
    Saskatchewan's new income support program is forcing people to live on the streets due to fewer housing options, dwindling benefits and more bureaucratic red tape, according to one Regina social worker. "I've been speaking with clients who are sleeping in cars and sheds," said Shannon Harvey-Benoit, a registered social worker with AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan in Regina, told Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger. Source
  • No 'secret agenda': New environment minister responds to Kenney, Notley concerns

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON - Canada's new minister of the environment and climate change responded Wednesday to allegations out of Alberta that he is a "radical environmentalist" who may try to kill jobs in the oilpatch. Steven Guilbeault, formerly a leader of Greenpeace Quebec and co-founder of Equiterre, was appointed to the position by prime minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday. Source
  • More than 100 shipping containers fell from crippled cargo ship off B.C. coast

    Canada News CTV News
    Victoria - The severity of a marine disaster off Vancouver Island is far worse than first reported, according to internal coast guard communications obtained by CTV News. The emails sent on Tuesday evening show the cargo ship Zim Kingston's owner underestimated the number of shipping containers that fell from the vessel during a storm. Source