SARA Connor faces a nervous six-day wait behind bars at Bali’s Kerobokan prison to find out whether prosecutors will appeal her four-year jail term for her role in killing a police officer.
She herself also has six days in which to decide if she wants to appeal, but that is a double-edged sword because if she appeals, the sentence could be increased as easily as decreased.
Experts say an appeal would be foolish given the severity of the crime and the leniency of the sentence.
In the wake of her conviction on Tuesday of group violence causing the death of police officer Wayan Sudarsa on a Kuta Beach, Connor was visited yesterday in jail by her brother, David Pistidda and his family along with her longtime friend Ambra Bertoldi.
Sara Connor’s brother David and his wife visit her at Kerobokan Jail a day after her verdict was handed down. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Source:News Corp Australia Sara Connor’s friend Ambra Bertoldi visits her at Kerobokan Jail a day after the Byron Bay woman was jailed for four years. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro
The family took her supplies, including a fan and the 46-year-old also spent some time yesterday meditating, something which jail insiders say she has been doing regularly since the shock of hearing several weeks ago that prosecutors wanted her jailed for eight years.
Connor also spent a lot of time with British grandmother Lindsey Sandiford, who is on death row in Kerobokan for her role in a drug smuggling ring.
The pair do not share a cell but according to insiders have become close since Connor was transferred to Kerobokan last year.
Connor is currently in a cell with 10 women, including American woman Heather Mack and her baby Stella.
Mack was convicted and sentenced to 10 years jail for her role in the brutal killing of her mother at a five-star hotel in Bali.
But during the day, when the cells are unlocked, Connor spends a lot of time in Sandiford’s cell. She is also visited daily by her close friend Ambra, who has been in Bali and supporting her since her arrest in August, bringing her food each day.
Professor Tim Lindsey, the director at Melbourne Law School’s Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, said an appeal by Connor would not be advised.
He was surprised the sentence was so lenient, given a police officer was killed.
“She would be, in my view, foolish to appeal it because the likelihood of a more severe sentence is extremely high,” Prof Lindsey said.
“I think she is very lucky to have received so light a sentence. If it goes to appeal it would be very possible for a much harsher sentence to be imposed,” he said.
Prof Lindsey said that under the charge for which Connor was convicted all prosecutors had to prove was that she was party to an assault which led to a death.
“They didn’t have to prove that she killed him,” he said.
By her own admission Connor was at the scene of the death of a policeman.
The general crime chief at the Denpasar prosecutors office, Ketut Maha Agung, told News Corp Australia that no decision had yet been made about whether the prosecution would appeal Connor’s sentence.
“We have seven days to think about it. On the sixth day we will decide whether we will appeal or not,” Mr Agung said.
Sara Connor inside the prisoner’s car after being sentenced for her involvement in the murder of a Balo policeman. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Connor’s boyfriend, British national David Taylor, listens as he is jailed for six years for the murder on Kuta beach, Bali. Picture: Firdia Lisnawati
An appeal decision must be made by March 20.
Mr Agung said the team needed to meet and discuss the matter first.
A prosecution appeal is a high possibility. Normally, if a sentence is less than two-thirds of that which the prosecutors demanded they generally appeal as a matter of course.
Prosecutors asked for eight years, Connor’s sentence was just half.
Both sides now have six more days in which to lodge a notice of intention to appeal the sentence to the High Court in Bali.
Under the Indonesian system, appeals can be fraught with danger because they can just as easily be increased as decreased.
So even if Connor herself appealed she could be sentenced to a much longer term or even found guilty of murder, a charge which Judges in the District Court rejected.
But the High Court could still reinstate it.
There are numerous examples where the sentence has increased.
Bali Nine members, like Scott Rush, Si Yi Chen, Matt Norman and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen knew this.
They initially got life sentences in the District Court but on appeal to the High Court their terms were increased to the death penalty.
It was only on a further appeal, to the Supreme Court in Jakarta, that they had it reduced back to life.
The dilemma for Connor is that she has, from the beginning, maintained she is innocent of any role in the death of the police officer.
But, in trying to clear her name, which she desperate to do, she runs the high risk of making things worse.
But if the prosecution appeals the decision may be taken out of her hands.
Connor has always maintained that her only role on the night of the officer’s death was to try to separate her boyfriend and the officer from fighting on the beach, at one stage launching herself into the middle of the two brawling men.