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

  • Luxury shoe retailer Jimmy Choo is for sale

    World News CBC News
    A Jimmy Choo shoe is seen in a shop in downtown Rome in March 2016 file photo. (Max Rossi/Reuters) British luxury retailer Jimmy Choo is seeking offers for the company as part of a review of its strategic options to maximize shareholder value, it said on Monday. Source
  • Top Afghan officials resign in wake of massacre by Taliban at army base

    World News CBC News
    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accepted the resignations of his defence minister and army chief of staff on Monday, after more than 140 soldiers were killed last week in the deadliest-ever Taliban attack on a military base, the president's office said. Source
  • New Orleans to take down Confederate monuments

    World News CBC News
    New Orleans planned to begin removing the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy. Workers were to begin removing the first memorial, one that commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, overnight in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials…
  • 5 dead, including children, NYC house fire

    World News CBC News
    Investigators are scouring for clues about what sparked a deadly, fast-moving house fire that killed five people, including three children, on a sunny spring afternoon. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon, on a street full of single-family homes in the middle-class neighbourhood of Queens Village, a neighbourhood near Belmont Park. Source
  • 5 dead, including children, in NYC house fire

    World News CBC News
    Investigators are scouring for clues about what sparked a deadly, fast-moving house fire that killed five people, including three children, on a sunny spring afternoon. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon, on a street full of single-family homes in the middle-class neighbourhood of Queens Village, a neighbourhood near Belmont Park. Source
  • New York City house fire kills 5, including 3 kids

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Investigators are scouring for clues about what sparked a deadly, fast-moving house fire that killed five people, including three children, on a sunny spring afternoon. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon, on a street full of single-family homes in the middle class neighbourhood of Queens Village. Source
  • Arkansas preps for first double execution in U.S. since 2000

    World News CTV News
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they're guilty but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for Monday might become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the U.S. Source
  • Pence cites 'challenging times' in speech to troops in American Samoa

    World News CTV News
    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, right, speaks during talks with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Admiralty House in Sydney, Saturday, April 22, 2017. (Jason Reed/Pool Photo via AP) Source
  • Trump's talk on immigration leads to farmers push back on immigration

    World News CTV News
    JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - The head of Bethel Heights Vineyard looked out over the 100 acres of vines her crew of 20 Mexicans had just finished pruning, worried about what will happen if the Trump administration presses ahead with its crackdown on immigrants. Source
  • Trump's talk on immigration leads to push back from farmers

    World News CTV News
    JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - The head of Bethel Heights Vineyard looked out over the 100 acres of vines her crew of 20 Mexicans had just finished pruning, worried about what will happen if the Trump administration presses ahead with its crackdown on immigrants. Source