Family Story July 2008
In July 2008 we flew to Darwin to consult with Scott’s
Australian lawyers Colin Macdonald QC and John North before we
went to Bali. They are caring compassionate men and we always
hope they don’t find us too taxing as neither of us have legal
training. Also the enormity and gravity of the situation makes
it very difficult for us to understand the legal processes in
Australia let alone in another country, in another language.
Here we are in chambers with John and Colin.
It is very reassuring to have expert legal help and to have
explained and understand the options available when dealing with
any legal matters and most especially when dealing with a
foreign legal system in matters of life and death. Pak Robert
Khuana remains our very special and valued lawyer in Denpasar.
In Bali, it was with nervous anticipation that we waited in LP
for Scott to come from his cell – Lee perched on a chair because
of his crook leg and me sitting on the white-tiled floor. We had
with us food and drinks to share as well as emails and messages
printed off from the web site.
There is always the time for reflections while waiting for him
–“what ifs and if only”. Futile thoughts. As Scott has said,
“I’m very sorry for this. I wish it could be different….but it
isn’t”. We most certainly are sorry too. We are also embarrassed
that we come to a foreign country, our nearest neighbour, not as
happy tourists but as parents of a prisoner. It is not a nice
feeling. What must the Indonesians think of our parenting
skills? Then the newspapers report 80% of the prisoners in LP
are there because of drug crime. Drugs certainly are a curse in
The three and a bit years since Scott has been in jail has
passed slowly and quickly for us. He was 19 and now he is 22. We
fret about his well-being and worry about how we are going to
manage things so we can get to see him again. We conjure visions
of our son’s loss of freedom and how he deals with it. All the
while we confront the Death Penalty.
Then there he was. He looked around, spotted us and there was
the great big smile. He looked fit and neat in his powder blue
prison shirt and brown board shorts. Such mixed emotions as we
hugged and kissed! Only do we feel these again when we leave for
Since Scott received the Death Penalty two years ago time often
passes in a kind of a blur. There is always the lingering, if
not the foremost thought of the horrible nature of state
execution- the Death Penalty – Capital Punishment. Thoughts of
the premeditated, planned, staged, managed death of someone,
anyone is horrible to contemplate. In some ways it seems worse
than murder when the timing of death is unknown. When it is your
By Lee and Chris
updated 15th September 2008
April 2006: Recollections
of the beginning of a living nightmare:
On 18 April 2005, our world
turned upside down when we were notified by Australian
Government officials from DFAT – Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade – that our much loved youngest son was detained in
Bali Indonesia for drug trafficking. The exact words and wording
are forgotten but the meaning was clear disaster for our
son, our family and our country.
Both Lee and I were at work;
Lee was notified of Scott’s detainment about 1.00 pm on Monday
18 April, 2005 some fourteen hours after the events in Bali had
taken place. As Lee knew I did not usually have my mobile phone
switched on during work time he decided to leave work early,
arrive home before I did and tell me what he knew face to face.
That allowed me to finish my day’s work and be home in my own
environment before he broke the news to me. This was a good call
as I don’t know how I would have managed to drive safely given
the shocking circumstances.
My day at work was busy and with
unexpected twists and turns. I decided that I would head
home relatively early and complete the “paper trial tasks” in
comfort. There it was that I walked into our home about 4.00 pm
to hear the phone ring. Rather than let the call go to message
bank, I picked up to asked by a journalist did I know about my
son. No, I didn’t and what was up?
At that moment Lee walked looking
very different sombre, serious. I dropped the
handpiece and went to him. He told me that he had received a
phone call from the Australian Government telling him that Scott
had been detained in Bali for alleged drug trafficking.
We were in a state of shock,
panic, disbelief staring at each other and feeling sick
with anxiety. The questions and confusion started coming for
what seemed like hours but was probably in fact only minutes. I
suspect sudden shattering news of this type gives rise to a sort
of lucidity for the participants at some stage. We decided our
priority would be to alert our family and extended family before
the media and TV news did. Next we would begin arrangements to
go to Bali ourselves. And we would try to find out about
legal advice for Scott through our Indonesian friends and
How we remained calm and focussed
that night is a mystery. We phoned the relatives and gave
them the little information that we had. Thankfully, my sister
arrived at the house and answered the phone, which rang
continually, organised food and drinks which no-one wanted and
generally stood guard. Mean while we searched for
documentation to obtain passports; rang an Indonesian lawyer in
Jakarta; graciously escorted to the front gate two young
journalists who expecting a scoop, evaded our dogs and walked
into our kitchen; commiserated with a group of Scott’s friends
who came to express their astonishment and concern. I completed
the administrative work that I had brought home knowing that it
must be returned the next day.
Fortunately we were too busy to
watch the TV reports thoroughly but we did catch
shocking snippets – there was our Scott in Bali at the airport
dressed in clothes that he normally wouldn’t wear to a fancy
dress party – clothes that he wouldn’t be seen dead in!
Then, there he was again only partly clad - no shirt and
black undies with wrapping around parts of his body -
and his face – he looked stunned. There were others …we
didn’t know them.
Still we managed to work on –
automatically – while questions, doubts, fears began to form in
our minds. Finally we retired and agreed that we needed to
be there for Scott before sleeping fitfully. Thoughts floated
disjointedly – How could this happen to Scott? Where was
he now? Who was with him? Why was there so much press?
Was that legal? Why wasn’t he warned? What should we
do? What was God’s grand plan? There was hope, pity, rage,
sorrow, fear, questions all jumbled together. Most of all
there was that sick in the stomach, dead weight empty feeling.
In the darkness, I prayed – the
Rosary without my Rosary beads. I prayed for Scott, our
family and Scott. I prayed for the others who were involved. It
was difficult to focus. I tried some yoga breathing
exercises. It was impossible to concentrate. What did I do
wrong as a mother for this situation to occur? Where had
we gone wrong as a family? Why was this happening to us? I
repeated over and over two of my favourite prayers that were
meaningful, short and to the point.
be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in
the beginning is now and ever shall be
World without end. Amen
God grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I
And wisdom to know the
At the crack
of dawn a journalist asking for our comments about the arrest
phoned us. How could we say anything when we didn’t know
anything? As the morning progressed our phone ran hot –
newspapers, TV, radio people were calling continuously. Outside
our home, camera crews and reporters began to appear. Our dogs
barked incessantly at all the activity.
We were in “flight” mode – arrange to get to Bali ASAP; clear
work commitments and organise for the running of the house while
we were overseas.
A friend and neighbour, bless her heart, pushed past the media
at 7.00am and offered her support. She also suggested a way to
leave the house without alerting the waiting media - the details
of how this was done remains our secret! Friends put encouraging
notes in the letterbox and others came for brief visits. We
thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, as it is at moments
and times of distress that friendship, sharing and caring really
makes a difference by lifting the spirits and showing one is not
One of my sisters made the six-hour road trip to our place
bringing with her our tech savvy niece who via the Internet
organised our accommodation in Bali and provided us with some
cultural and historical information about the Island.
By 5.30pm Tuesday 19th April, we had passports and plane tickets
in order. The time passed quickly in a kind of a blur – a visit
to the doctor for recommended vaccinations, insurance,
organising finance, packing appropriate clothes, communication
with DFAT, leave from work, informing family and friends. Then
early afternoon the next day we were at Brisbane International
Airport ready to depart on our first overseas trip since 1980.
The flight was comfortable and uneventful. We were apprehensive
– absorbed with worry, doubts, and confusion. On our arrival at
Ngurah Rai (Bali) airport an official from the Australian
Consulate met us and assisted us through customs and guided us
to the taxi rank. We were immediately struck by the different
sounds and smells. The media was hovering round which caught us
unawares. In hindsight, we probably should have expected it but
we didn’t. A group of taxi drivers got between us and the
cameras, thankfully. We then made the rather scary journey
through narrow streets with high wall to the Sofitel at Seminak.
Words : by Christine and Lee