Neil Bantleman in mass holding compound as family prepares to support him in jail
Safety and access to visits a key as family proceeds with appeal
Neil Bantleman is being held in a mass compound with 300 inmates while he awaits his eventual placement in an Indonesian prison.
The cell is in a holding area beside the main Cipinang jail and the Burlington, Ont. man's family is hoping the move to the main jail comes as soon as possible.
It will be watching that move closely to see what kind of cell and prison conditions he is given.
If necessary, the family will again be willing to pay Indonesian officials to ensure Neil gets preferential treatment while being held in prison.
The family and school where he worked have already paid thousands to make sure Bantleman had the best possible conditions when awaiting trial and after his conviction on sexual assault charges.
Guy Bantleman, Neil's brother, said the Bantleman family and the Jakarta Intercultural School have come together to pay the money. So far, $30,000 has been paid, Guy said in an interview on Monday morning.
He said it is the way it works there and the way to make sure Neil is protected.
Guy said he wasn't sure where the money went or who it was given to, "I just know it's money that's paid and Neil is taken care of. It's a great indication of the way the whole system works."
Neil Bantleman surrendered to police on Thursday after an Indonesian Supreme Court decision overturned his acquittal and added another year to his sentence on allegations that he sexually abused three children at a private school in Jakarta.
The co-accused Ferdinand Tjiong, an Indonesian teaching assistant, is also back in custody. Both are now facing sentences of up to 11 years in prison.
Guy said his brother will be kept in this holding area, called Lembaga Pemasyarakatan Cipinang, until his processing is complete and he can be integrated back into the prison in Jakarta.
Guy said if the money wasn't paid, Neil would likely be living in a much different prison environment.
"From what I've heard the conditions aren't as good," without the ability to pay for a preferential cell, he said. "Smaller cells, shared cells. You wonder about safety. You wonder about when Tracy visits, she's there in a very different environment."
The next step in the fight to release Bantleman from prison is filing for a judicial review. Bantleman and his advocates will be requesting this option and bringing forward new evidence uncovered by a CBC fifth estate investigation.
Among other documents, the team is seeking to obtain a medical record from the alleged victim, a kindergarten student at the school. The hope is, once acquired, this document can be treated as new evidence in the judicial review.