Online Trial of Bali Musician Continues

The second court proceeding, in as many weeks, took place on Tuesday, 22 September 2020, in the criminal case against Balinese punk rock musician JRX ( I Gede Ari Astina) facing a possible prison term if found guilty of defaming and sowing hate speech against the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI).

Online Trial from Three Locations

The trial is being conducted from three separate locations in Denpasar connected over the Internet and operated at a distance from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, 10 September 2020, the first court session saw the State’s criminal charges against the musician read into the record in the absence of JRX and his team of lawyers who walked out of the trial. JRX alleged that any trial in which the defendant could not directly face prosecutors, the panel of judges, and witnesses is patently unjust.

Appearing online before the Court at the second proceeding on 22 September 2020, JRX’s arrived late, resulting in the session beginning 20-minutes late at 10:20 am when the legal team led by I Wayan ‘Gendo’ Suardana and JRX finally entered the venue – Bali’s Police Headquarters on Jalan WR Supratman in Denpasar.

As reported by NusaBali, the trial reopened to hear JRX and his lawyers restate their opposition to an online legal proceeding. “As the defendant, I continue to reject an online trial. I ask for a face-to-face trial. The trial is not only for the victim (IDI), prosecutors, and judges. The trial is also for my benefit as the defendant,” stated JRX.

A member of the defense team, Sugeng Teguh Santoso, told the Court that the trial’s purpose is to evaluate the validity of the material evidence against JRX. Sugeng reasoned that justice demands that the need to seek justice means his client’s needs must be accommodated. The legal team has written to the Supreme Court (MA) seeking their advice, opinions, and reactions so that the trial involving the IDI and Jerinx can be conducted offline on a face-to-face basis. Accordingly, Sugeng called on the Denpasar Court to postpone the trial until a response is heard from the Supreme Court.

The presiding judge responded, explaining that the legal proceeding was being held in a virtual format to prevent the spread of COVID-19  and must therefore continue. The judge leading the three-member panel of judges reasoned: “If we wait for a response from the MA, how long will that take? Meanwhile, the defendant remains behind bars.”

The Court’s second seating saw the charges against JRX reread by prosecutors since the defendant was not present for the first reading after walking out of the court session. Public Prosecutor Otong Hendra Rahayu restated the State’s allegations that JRX had used his celebrity status to post statements on his Instagram account calling the IDI “the lackeys” (“kacung”) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

At the latest court proceeding, JRX and his attorneys ask the judges panel for two weeks to prepare their legal exceptions challenging the points of law in the criminal charges against the musician. In response, the judges gave until the next sessions on 29 September 2020 to be followed by the State Prosecutor’s response on 01 October 2020. Then, according to the court calendar, the interlocutory decision will be read on 06 October 2020. 

The Court is then scheduled to hear expert witnesses or any de charge witnesses. Then on November 02 and 3, the Prosectors will read their sentencing demands with a final verdict to be rendered on 19 November, at the latest. 

Related Links

JRX’s Walkout from Bali Defamation Trial

Protests Mount for the Release of JRX

Dangerous to Lose Patience with Your Doctor

Bali Musician Charged with Hate Speech

Governor Reminds Dissenters to Shape Up 

Bali Rock Musician Accused of Defamation 

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