|Husband and wife Neil and Tracy Bantleman|
talk during a break in Neil's trial in late February.
By Tim Whitnell
A former Burlington resident accused of sexually abusing three boys at his workplace in Indonesia took the stand at his trial today as testimony wrapped up in a case that has garnered international attention.
Neil Bantleman and his co-accused, friend and colleague Ferdinant Tjiong, were called by the Crown to testify during a court session in Jakarta that lasted nearly 12 hours.
On Tuesday (March 3), the court heard from Tracy Bantleman, Neil’s wife, who also works at the JIS, and Fransisca Tjiong, Ferdinant’s wife.
Also testifying on Tuesday, as an expert defence witness, was Chris O’Connor. The retired detective, formerly of the Victoria Police Department in Australia, has more than 25 years experience investigating sexual abuse.
Details about the testimony were not available. In recent weeks the three judges presiding over the case have warned those involved in the matter not to discuss the case in public or with the media.
The court sessions have been closed even to the accused’s spouses.
Tracy has had to get updates on the trial through her husband and his defence team. She then sends updates on the proceedings to her brother-in-law Guy Bantleman, a Burlington resident, who is Neil’s older brother.
The Bantlemans’ parents, Corinne, 82, and Hugh, 83, also live in Burlington, where Neil grew up.
Neil Bantleman, 45, is on trial for alleged child sex abuse at the Jakarta International School (JIS), where he is an administrator.
He and Tjiong, a teacher’s assistant, have been in custody since July 2014. Their trial began Dec. 23. They are accused of drugging and raping three young boys who attended the JIS in March 2014.
Both men have professed their innocence from the outset.
If convicted, they could face 15 years in prison.
Four male janitors at the school and a female have since been convicted in the case in a separate trial. They were given jail sentences ranging from 7-8 years; another janitor implicated in the case died before his trial with the cause of his death uncertain.
The next phase of the Bantleman-Tjiong trial has the prosecution providing its conclusions in the case on March 10 and 12.
The team of lawyers for Bantleman and Tjiong present their summations on March 17 and 19.
The prosecution gets to reply to the defendants’ conclusions on March 24 while the defendants get to reply to the prosecution on March 25.
The court’s verdict is expected on March 31 and April 2.