POLITICS

Canadian detained in Indonesia to have first day in court Tuesday: Family

12/01/2014 06:42 EST | Updated 01/31/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - The brother of a Canadian teacher detained in Indonesia on allegations of child sexual assault says Neil Bantleman will have his first day in court on Tuesday.

Bantleman, who worked at the prestigious Jakarta International School, was arrested in July along with a teaching assistant during a police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three kindergarten students.

His brother Guy says Bantleman was subpoenaed Monday and will have the charges formally read out against him on Tuesday.

He says while Bantleman had hoped the charges would be dropped by now, the prospect of being able to challenge the "wild allegations" is giving his brother grounds for optimism.

He also says Bantleman's legal team will move to have the case thrown out.

Guy Bantleman says it's expected to take up to three weeks for a decision on whether the matter will head to trial, a process he says would take another three to six months.

He said that while the family has concerns about whether the court process will be fair and transparent, it will at least give his brother a chance to fight back.

"While we never thought we'd get to trial, it's getting to a point where we can confront the accusers in a court of law, we can see their alleged evidence, we can start to understand more about the allegations and ultimately refuting them and clearing Neil's name," Guy Bantleman said Monday in an interview.

"Having the ability to know that there is something coming up on the horizon, something short term, that will drive Neil... he needs something to cling on to and have hope about."

Bantleman's legal team will also try to have him transferred out of prison and into home arrest, said his brother, adding that he has been harassed by fellow inmates and is concerned for his safety.

Guy Bantleman said while consular officials are providing assistance, the family last week received a letter from the office of Lynne Yelich, junior minister responsible for consular affairs, stating Ottawa won't pressure Indonesia to release his brother from jail.

Bantleman, of Burlington, Ont., moved to Indonesia four years ago with his wife, who also teaches at Jakarta International School.

Local media have reported the police investigation began with the arrest of six outsourced cleaners accused of allegedly raping a young boy in a school bathroom in March.

The Jakarta Post reported that the parents of two other students filed police reports claiming their sons were sexually assaulted by teachers, and that police claim to have proof the two teachers drugged kindergarten pupils before sexually assaulting them.

Guy Bantleman said the cleaners' trial is due to end in the coming weeks.

Both Bantleman and co-accused Ferdinand Tjiong, who also denies the charges, could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.