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

  • North Dakota officials pledge 'humane' help for protesters as 'winter begins to take hold'

    World News CBC News
    The head of North Dakota's emergency management services says the state is prepared to respond to Dakota Access pipeline protesters who may need help during a winter storm or some other crisis. State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz said it would be a "huge challenge," especially during a mass evacuation, but his office has winter shelter plans in place and various agencies are ready to respond. Source
  • At least 9 dead in fire at Oakland, Calif., warehouse party [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source
  • Brothers in barbarity [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The Clark brothers had bizarre tastes. And that taste was for human flesh. Hadden and Bradfield Clark were cannibals. And both were vindictive, mean-spirited monsters. “Sometimes, he couldn’t control himself. If something didn’t go his way, he’d get very upset. Source
  • 'Anybody can be a terrorist'; Ohio a hotbed for radicalization?

    World News Toronto Sun
    CINCINNATI — Authorities are investigating terrorism as a possible motive in the car-and-knife attack on the Ohio State University campus, the latest in a series of cases involving young men who apparently became radicalized in the heartland state. Source
  • Chef credited with inventing General Tso's Chicken has died

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The chef credited with inventing General Tso's Chicken, a world-famous Chinese dish smothered in a sweet sauce that was never a staple in China, has died in Taiwan at 98. Peng Chang-kuei died of pneumonia last Wednesday in Taipei, his son, Chuck Peng, told The Associated Press. Source
  • Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former prisoner of war who's accused of endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan, is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office. Source
  • Morocco arrests suspect tied to thwarted French attack plot

    World News CTV News
    RABAT, Morocco -- Moroccan police have arrested a "dangerous element" who allegedly served as a liaison between the Islamic State group's external operations and members of a French cell that was dismantled last month while allegedly planning an attack. Source
  • 9 dead in fire at Oakland, Calif., warehouse party

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source
  • IS exploits rain, hits Iraqi militias west, south of Mosul

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Islamic State militants have staged near simultaneous attacks on positions of state-sanctioned militias west and south of Iraq's northern city of Mosul, apparently taking advantage of bad weather conditions that normally disrupt air support, two militia officials said on Saturday. Source
  • Islamic State exploits rain, hits Iraqi militias west, south of Mosul

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Islamic State militants have staged near simultaneous attacks on positions of state-sanctioned militias west and south of Iraq's northern city of Mosul, apparently taking advantage of bad weather conditions that normally disrupt air support, two militia officials said on Saturday. Source