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Delhi-based Australian journalist imprisoned for drug offences in Singapore, sacked by ABC

Delhi-based Australian journalist imprisoned for drug offences in Singapore
Peter Lloyd and his estranged wife, Kirsty McIvor, before his sentence hearing at a Singapore court on Tuesday.Photo: Associated Press (AP)

An Australian television correspondent who said he was traumatised from covering wars and natural disasters has been sentenced to jail for 10 months by a Singapore court for drug offences.

Peter Lloyd, 42, New Delhi-based correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was arrested while on holiday in Singapore on July 16, and pleaded guilty to three drug-related offences. In return, Singapore's Attorney-General dropped the most serious charge of drug trafficking, which could have seen Lloyd spend 20 years in jail and receive 15 strokes of the cane.

Judge Hamidah Ibrahim sentenced Lloyd on Tuesday to eight months for possessing the stimulant methamphetamine and another eight months for consuming it. The sentences are to run concurrently. Lloyd received an additional two months in jail for possessing drug paraphernalia stained with ketamine, an anaesthetic which is commonly used at dance parties.

Lloyd's lawyer Hamidul Haq argued that his client was suffering from post-traumatic stress because of his work as a journalist covering wars and disasters in Asia, including the 2002 Bali bombing. Lloyd "is not a drug abuser as such" but took methamphetamine as a way of dealing with nightmares caused by the tragedies he had covered, Haq said.

"In trying to deal with this... ice became a form of self-medication for him. He does not do it for recreational purpose," the lawyer said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The judge responded by calling the charges "very serious."

A spokeswoman for the ABC would not say the broadcaster had terminated Lloyd's contract, according to the Australian, but confirmed that, following Lloyd's sentencing and his inability to continue working, "the ABC's employment relationship with Peter has come to an end." She said, "The ABC has valued and respected Peter as an employee and as an outstanding journalist who is widely admired by colleagues and industry peers."

Date posted: December 3, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 653