The Jakarta Police now say that the drug allegation against 23-year-old Christopher Daniel Sjarief was unfounded and have admitted that the earlier finding was made based on the suspect’s confession and a physical examination.
Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul said Wednesday that the urine and blood test results released by the National Drugs Agency (BNN) and police forensics laboratory had proved that Christopher was not under the influence of any drug when he was driving.
“Our initial statement that the suspect was using LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide] was issued based only on his confession and a physical examination shortly after the incident,” Martinus told reporters at the Jakarta Police headquarters.
He said at that time, the suspect had said he had consumed LSD.
“We also saw some indications, such as a feeling of anxiety and a high pulse rate,” he said.
He stressed that there had been no under-the-table agreement related to the investigation and said that the different opinions on the drug test result between the Jakarta Police and the South Jakarta Police had now been settled.
Last Tuesday, Christopher lost control of the SUV he was driving on Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda in South Jakarta and crashed into six motorcyclists and two cars on the congested street. The accident killed four people, including a police officer. Two people were injured in the incident, while two others remain in a critical condition.
In a statement issued shortly after the incident, Martinus said Christopher had been named the main suspect in the incident and he had “tested positive” for having consumed LSD.
However, South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Wahyu Hadiningrat refused to confirm that statement, saying he preferred to wait for the test result from BNN.
On Tuesday evening, one week after the deadly accident, South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Wahyu Hadiningrat unexpectedly told reporters that based on the urine and blood test results released by BNN, Christopher had not been proven “to have consumed LSD or any other drugs”.
During the press conference, South Jakarta Police drugs unit chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hando Wibowo said he welcomed the negative test result, as it would remove the possibility of Christopher protecting himself by saying he was unconscious during the incident.
“Let’s say the drug test was positive, he could have hired a top lawyer, who would try to prove that he must be sent to a rehabilitation facility instead of prison because of the drugs,” Hando said.
Separately, Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) head Neta S. Pane criticized the change in statements by the Jakarta Police and the early differences between the Jakarta Police and the South Jakarta Police on the drug test results. He said it could potentially tarnish the police’s image.
“The public will be confused by the different statements and ask if certain parties are trying to take advantage of this case,” Neta said.
He said the Internal Affairs Division (Propam) of the National Police needed to reveal the truth behind the drug abuse allegation.
According to the police, before the accident, Christopher was with his friend Muhammad Ali Husni Riza at Pacific Place mall in South Jakarta. On their way home, Ali was involved in an argument with Christopher and decided to get out of his car. He asked his driver, Ahmad Sandi, to take Christopher home.
Not long afterward, Christopher forced the driver to get out of the car and drove away in it.
The police said Christopher was a student at a university in San Francisco in the US. His father is a businessman involved in property development. Meanwhile, Ali is a student at the University of Indonesia and the son of a medical equipment businessman.
The police have charged Christopher under Article 311 of Law No. 22/2009 on traffic and land transportation with reckless driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment, and Article 312 on hit and run, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
On Jan. 22, 2012, drunk driver Afriyani killed nine pedestrians and injured four more as she drove at high speed under the influence of drugs and alcohol in Gambir, Central Jakarta. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 1, 2013, M. Rasyid Amrullah, son of then Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, rear-ended a Daihatsu Luxio on New Year’s Day and killed two people. He walked free after the panel of judges gave him a six-month probationary term and ordered him to pay a Rp 12 million (US$958) fine
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