Former Reuters war correspondent, British man David Fox, has been sentenced to seven months in prison for using drugs in Bali.
The 55-year-old immediately accepted the sentence that was handed down at Denpasar Court on Thursday, later expressing relief and gratitude for the “lenient” term.
With time already served, Fox is due to be released by the start of May.
“I am very grateful to my legal team and all my friends and supporters for helping me get through this and to navigate through the byzantine system here,” he told reporters.
“The court recognised the circumstances of my peculiar case and I’m relieved and look forward to completing my sentence.”
The judges found Fox guilty of the lesser charge of drug use, rather than the more serious offences of possession or transportation – after he was found with just over 10 grams of hashish in Sanur in October.
Chief judge Erwin Djong also rejected prosecution calls to jail the British man for one year.
He accepted Fox’s evidence that he had been using hasish due to the trauma he experienced a war reporter.
“He (Fox) regrets what he did and promises not to repeat it,” the judge added.
Fox, his trial had heard, was caught in a sting operation at On On Bar in Sanur at the hands of police and Australian man Giuseppe Serafino on October 8.
Serafino, who had been caught with hashish only hours before, was then used to lure Fox.
Fox said he had only given drugs to Serafino because the Australian complained of back pain.
The former war correspondent, the trial heard, began using the drug 30 years ago after the trauma of seeing “thousands of people killed”.
He worked for Reuters for 20 years, covering conflicts in a number of countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Rwanda, as well as natural disasters.
It is understood the news agency will help with his rehabilitation after he leaves Kerobokan prison later this year.
Fox said he was coping well in the notorious Bali jail.
“I keep busy. There are some very good people inside there. I try and help people as much as I can and people try to help me,” he told reporters.
Serafino is due to be sentenced next week. Prosecutors have also asked for him to be jailed for one year.
It’s unclear yet whether prosecutors will appeal Fox’s sentence.