A Darwin businessman rescued from his stricken yacht in Indonesia
and then hit with drug charges has broken down, sobbing, when police notified him on the weekend that the charges have been dropped.
Anthony Haritos, a well-known Top End businessman with shipping interests in Darwin and Indonesia and who once worked as a media spokesperson for the ALP member for the Northern Territory, Warren Snowden, had been facing drug possession charges carrying a 12-year maximum term as well as personal use charges.
The 63-year-old’s tangle with the law began on July 16 when his catamaran suffered a broken sail and engine failure in a storm and he and an Indonesian man on board spent four days bobbing around the ocean before being rescued by a search and rescue team near Sumba, in Eastern Indonesia.
He had been sailing from Australia to Rote, where he planned to investigate investing and building a villa.
But after his rescue, Haritos’ luck turned to misfortune.
While he was recovering from his lost at sea ordeal police found images on social media of a man appearing to be Haritos and sharing the same left arm tattoo, appearing to smoke a drug pipe.
So believing the images to be Haritos, they decided to search his catamaran and under a bed on the catamaran police allegedly found 0.06 grams of amphetamine, which police allege Haritos admitted was his.
Things got even worse for Haritos when he then slipped on the boat, severely injuring his spine, and exacerbating a long-term back injury sustained in East Timor in 2003 where he was involved with the Dili International School.
In pain, police agreed to allow Haritos to be transferred in August from the remote Sumba, with limited medical facilities, to Bali for medical treatment.
Police from East Nusa Tennggara flew to Bali few days ago to hand over the termination letter, dated November 26, ordering an end to the police investigation.
Haritos’ lawyer, Edward Pangkahila, today confirmed that police had met Haritos at his villa in Sanur.
“He is extremely happy. He was sobbing once police handed over the warrant letter, as he was too happy,” Mr Pangkahila said.
“We are very grateful. He should get advanced medical treatment once he flies back to Australia. We thank the East Nusa Tenggara police that have handled the case professionally.”
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Source : 7 News AU