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West Australian 'didn't know' Bali's drug laws

A West Australian man on trial for using hashish in Bali has told a court he did not know doing drugs in Indonesia was "such a big crime".

Giuseppe Serafino, 48, had been living on the popular tourist island for six years and owned a bar in Sanur when he was arrested in October last year over seven grams of hashish allegedly found in his home.

Serafino told Denpasar Court on Monday that he began using marijuana in 2007 for pain relief after being diagnosed with mouth cancer.

It was a practice he continued in Bali - buying hashish at McDonald's for around three million rupiah ($A300).

He told the court he had been "allowed" to smoke hashish by an Australian doctor.

When asked why he did not mention the Australian doctor's recommendation upon his arrest, Serafino replied through an interpreter: "I cannot speak Indonesian so I couldn't explain ... I don't know how the system works here."

"I didn't know that using drugs in Indonesia was such a big crime," he said through an interpreter, adding that he would never do it again.

In a health report handed to the court, Dr Gde Hartawan noted Serafino had used hashish in prison after his arrest.

However, he added, there was no information to suggest this was still the case.

He described Serafino's drug use as being of "medium risk" and in need of a "brief intervention".

Serafino, however, was not questioned about any alleged drug use in prison.

Serafino's arrest also led to the detention of British man and former Reuters war correspondent David Fox.

Both are citing stress and health issues, with their lawyers saying they should face the lesser charge of drug use, which carries a maximum sentence of four years.

They could be jailed for up to 12 years under the possession or transportation charges they face.

Prosecutors are expected to outline the sentence they want Serafino to get when the matter returns to court next week.


AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

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