Australian man on trial in Bali over drugs allegedly used to treat mental illness

Australian man on trial in Bali over drugs allegedly used to treat mental illness

Australian man on trial in Bali over drugs allegedly used to treat mental illness

Updated 24 January 2018, 8:05 AEDT

A Brisbane man is facing up to 12 years in jail in Bali after being arrested for drugs his lawyers says are used to treat his paranoid schizophrenia.

An Australian man who was caught in Bali with a small amount of marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug diazepam has gone on trial for two separate drugs offences that carry maximum terms of more than 10 years in jail.

Lawyers for 33-year-old Brisbane man Joshua James Baker claim he is dependent on the drugs due to a mental illness.

A three-judge panel in Denpasar was told Mr Baker was arrested at Bali's international airport in October after customs officers noticed his "nervous and suspicious" behaviour.

A customs officer searched his luggage and found 28 grams of marijuana mixed with tobacco as well as 37 diazepam tablets.

Diazepam is a muscle relaxant used to treat anxiety. It has a mood-elevating effect.

Baker's lawyer has previously told police Mr Baker suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has been prescribed the drug in the past.

Bali prosecutors say Mr Baker had no current prescriptions for diazepam.

He has been charged with importing narcotics and psychotropic drugs and could serve up to 12 years in jail, although most people convicted of carrying small amounts of drugs in Indonesia generally serve one or two years in jail.

In an indictment read to the court, prosecutors said Mr Baker claimed he bought the marijuana from a man at a bar in Cambodia.

Mr Baker's defence team will make their submissions to the court on January 30.