Bali boy returns to Australia


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05-12-2011 08:15 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


05-12-2011 08:15 AM



05-12-2011 08:55 AM

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2011-12-05 08:15:43

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Bali boy returns to Australia -

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TONY EASTLEY: Eight weeks after he was detained for buying drugs in Indonesia, the so-called 'Bali
boy' is finally on his way home.

The 14-year-old from the New South Wales Central Coast will arrive in Sydney this morning.

While his family has been fielding large offers of money for interviews, a child psychologist says
the best thing the teenager can do is avoid the media.

Adam Harvey reports.

ADAM HARVEY: The Bali boy paid a big price for buying a relatively small amount of drugs.

He endured two months in custody, he lost the anonymity that the Australian justice system gives
children here, he cost his family a lot of heartache and a fortune in legal fees.

And his ordeal isn't over yet. There'll be another media pack waiting at Sydney Airport today.

Child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg says the best thing the family can do is to
keep on walking.

MICHAEL CARR-GREGG: Well, I think the four pieces of advice I'd be offering. One is to stay away
from the media. The second would be to address whatever psychological problems may have arisen. The
third would be to stay out of trouble and the fourth would be to catch up with your pro-social
friends and catch up with your schoolwork.

ADAM HARVEY: But it might be too late.

Max Markson is a celebrity agent and publicist.

MAX MARKSON: Well, my understanding is that a deal was done several weeks ago with Channel Nine for
something like $300,000.

ADAM HARVEY: The Indonesian court heard that the boy had a drugs problem before arriving in Bali.

Dr Carr-Gregg says any psychological issues are likely to have got worse, not better.

MICHAEL CARR-GREGG: Clearly, this is a young man who took some unwise decisions particularly in
relation to allegedly marijuana. You know, if you look at the high prevalence disorders amongst
young people - you've got depression, anxiety and substance abuse. He certainly has one of those
and perhaps now has developed some problems with the others as well. Who knows?

ADAM HARVEY: If they haven't already signed on the dotted line, it'll be difficult for the family
to resist temptation.

Max Markson.

MAX MARKSON: It is definitely in his family's interested because they would have paid a lot of
money in legal fees so it is a way of recouping some of those fees or all of those fees if the
$300,000 is the amount paid.

ADAM HARVEY: And if it's hard for the family to resist, Mr Markson says it's impossible for the
media to say no, especially at this time of year.

MAX MARKSON: It is just the biggest interview at the moment because it is coming up to Christmas
and there is not much else happening. At any time of the year he would still be a big interview and
you know, a child gets arrested for drugs is a good story anyway, but the fact that it is in Bali
and there is the threat of long-term imprisonment, it's a good story.

ADAM HARVEY: Max Markson thinks an interview could serve the greater good.

MAX MARKSON: It may well mean that the kid gets his act together and the family get their act
together so that the child can walk on the right side and not be embroiled in another similar
incident whether it is here or overseas again in the future. It might, you know, bring some sense
to them all.

ADAM HARVEY: Despite the anguish and tension of the last few months, the family have at least got
one of their wishes granted - to have Christmas together back in Australia.

TONY EASTLEY: Adam Harvey reporting.