POLITICS

Indonesian prosecutor opposes bid to dismiss case against Canadian teacher

12/11/2014 01:38 EST | Updated 02/10/2015 05:59 EST
JAKARTA, Indonesia - The prosecution in the case of a Canadian teacher facing allegations he sexually abused a kindergarten student at an international school in Indonesia has been in court to oppose a call by the defence for the case to be dismissed.

The brother of teacher Neil Bantleman of Burlington, Ont., says the prosecutor presented briefs Thursday in opposition to what is known as an application for exception.

Reports say an application for exception seeks a ruling from the court that a case should be thrown out.

Guy Bantleman said in an email to The Canadian Press that the court is to make a decision Tuesday on the matter.

He also said the British ambassador came to the courthouse to meet his brother to assure him he has the "support of the British Embassy in Jakarta and that they are monitoring the case closely."

Neil Bantleman and teaching assistant Ferdinant Tjiong, who have been in custody since July, are being tried separately in closed-door sessions. Both have maintained their innocence as do fellow teachers and the principal at the Jakarta International School.

In a letter filed with the court earlier this week, Neil Bantleman said the allegations in the indictment against him are "baseless and completely false" and that the indictment fails to comply with Indonesian law and should be "rendered null and void." The letter was emailed to The Canadian Press by Guy Bantleman.

A judge read the charges against Tjiong and Bantleman in a Dec. 3 session but they were not required to enter a plea.

Five janitors at the school are being tried over the same allegations. A sixth died in custody.

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

Supporters of Bantleman and Tjiong say the student, who was six at the time the alleged abuse occurred, was subject to suggestive questioning by inexperienced police. The abuse was alleged to have happened at a room in the school during teaching hours.

The family of the student is suing the school for $130 million.

The school in southern Jakarta is attended by the children of foreign diplomats, businesspeople and Indonesia's elite.

Bantleman moved to Indonesia four years ago with his wife, who also teaches at the school.

Both Bantleman and Tjiong could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.