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Neil Bantleman will stand trial on rape charges in Indonesia

12/16/2014 08:36 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST
An Indonesian court has completely rejected exceptions filed by a Burlington, Ont., teacher who is fighting rape charges, and now his trial will start on Dec. 23.

Neil Bantleman’s family had been hoping the charges would be thrown out when he appeared in court Tuesday.

“We were devastated to hear the decision of the courts today to completely reject the exceptions files by Neil and his legal team,” said his brother, Guy Bantleman.

The 45-year-old is facing charges in a sexual assault investigation involving an international school in Jakarta.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that an indictment read in closed court earlier this month accuses Bantleman and aide Ferdinand Tijong of multiple counts of rape involving three different boys.

Bantleman has called the allegations “baseless” and “completely false.” He and his supporters say the lack of a firm timeframe surrounding the alleged incidents undermines the case against him.

In the prosecution’s letter of indictment, it states the incidents took place “in a certain time between the months of January 2013 through March 2014, or at least at a certain time in the years of 2013 through 2014."

“While exceptions are rarely granted, the baseless indictment that noted a law that now does not exist and is vague in its accusations, we felt, was another strong argument for the case to be dismissed,” his brother wrote in an email to CBC News.

Guy Bantleman says over 100 parents, students and staff were at the courthouse for the hearing decision. Consular officials from the Canadian and British embassies were also there, he said.

The prosecution requested more time to prepare its witnesses, which was granted by the judge. The child victims in the case will appear via teleconference for the trial.

“One member of our legal team has been granted permission to be present at the site of the teleconference,” Guy Bantleman said.

“We are disappointed but not disheartened. The trial will give us the opportunity to prove Neil and Ferdi are innocent.”

Bantleman and Tjiong are in neighbouring cells in Cipinang Penitentiary Institution, a maximum-security prison.

He taught for 10 years at Webber Academy in Calgary.

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