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Australian on Trial in Bali Over Drugs Allegedly For Mental Illness

Joshua James Baker claims the 37 diazepam pills he was caught with were to treat his paranoid schizophrenia.
24 January 2018, 8:46am
Image supplied/Bali Airport Customs

Brisbane man Joshua James Baker is facing court in Indonesia over two separate drugs charges, which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Lawyers for the 33-year-old claim their client uses one of the drugs—diazepam—to treat his paranoid schizophrenia. However, prosecutors claim Baker doesn't have a current prescription for the drug, which is commonly used to treat anxiety.

Baker was arrested at Bali international airport in October 2017, when officers noticed his "nervous and suspicious" behaviour. At the time, he was carrying 28 grams of marijuana mixed with tobacco. His lawyers claim this was purchased in Cambodia from a man at a bar. He was also in possession of 37 diazepam tablets.

Soon after his arrest, Baker was able to slip out of a window of the jail while police were “too excited watching television." He went on the run, eluding police for 12 hours before he was finally caught having lunch in a Bali restaurant.

Then in November last year, police took Baker off his psychiatric medication to see if he really was mentally ill. The Mount Isa man spent two weeks under supervision to monitor his mental state.

A screenshot from Roberts' accountant website. Image via

Baker isn't the only Queenslander making his way through the Indonesian courts over drugs charges. Accountant Isaac Emmanuel Roberts was arrested in December 2017 allegedly carrying 14.32 grams of methamphetamine, 6.22 grams of ecstasy, and 22ml of Alprazolam in his luggage, also at Bali airport.

Bali prosecutors have charged Baker with importing narcotics and psychotropic drugs. If found guilty, the 33-year-old, who once tried to run for politics as a Liberal Democrat, could face 20 years behind bars at the notorious Kerobokan Prison.

Baker will face court again on January 30, when he lawyers will submit their defence.

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.