Police in Bali have worked with a victim and thief to come to a restorative justice agreement. An American tourist in Bali, known only by his initials NJ, had his wallet snatched during his vacation on the Island of the Gods. The initial robbery happened on Friday, 17th June. NJ agreed to a restorative justice deal after learning the real reason why his wallet was stolen.
The Head of the Jembrana District Attorney, Salomina Meyke Saliama, mediated the session between NJ and the thief in question, HP, Tuesday, 30th August 2022. Saliama told reporters after the meeting was concluded that ‘This suspect committed the crime of stealing a wallet belonging to a foreign national who was on vacation. The reason was to meet the necessities of life, such as buying rice and diapers for his children. And after we mediated, the victim finally forgave the perpetrator, and it ended peacefully’.
The journey to restorative justice was long, but it seems that all parties are relieved that the situation has been resolved. HP appeared genuinely remorseful at his actions and admitted that he did so out of desperation. In a photo shared by the Jembrana District Attorney’s Office, HP and NJ can be seen shaking hands. HP bows his head in respect.
Saliama told reporters that NJ did not want any criminal charges to be taken against HP after he learned of the reasons behind his actions. Saliama explained ‘The victim does not want to continue [with charges] because the victim feels sorry for the suspect whose children are still small. The victim asks that this issue be resolved amicably through us at the Jembrana District Attorney.
Saliama conducted her statements by saying, ‘The important point is that the victim has forgiven the perpetrator. Then the victim also doesn’t want to continue this case because she sees the condition of the victim. So the prosecutor applies.
Restorative justice was an option for NJ, and HP as less than IDR 2.5 million (USD 168 ) has been caused. The wallet that was stolen contained just IDR 300,000 (USD 20). It was discovered that this was the first time that HP had ever committed a crime and that he showed no intention of repeating his actions. Given that NJ was open to seeking restorative justice, the outcome was easy to reach without animosity, only inconvenience.
The last public restorative justice case in Bali was in June 2022, when Indonesian-Dutch actress Jennifer Coppen reached an agreement with the man who allegedly assaulted her at a nightclub. It is believed that Coppen was helping a drunken tourist who was being harassed by a group of men. During the altercation, punches are said to have been thrown, one of which hit Coppen in the face. Coppen and the man known as KJ reached a restorative justice agreement that nullified any criminal charges against the alleged attacker.
The benefit of restorative justice is that it seeks reconciliation and action towards making change. Restorative justice has been proven to reduce the risk of criminals reoffending. It is also a far more efficient use of resources, costing considerably less than prison or community service. For crimes such as HP’s wallet snatching, restorative justice is proven to be far more effective than fines or prison time.
In terms of benefits for victims like NJ, it gives a sense of empowerment as they feel they have the opportunity to speak directly to the person who wronged them, understand their point of view and hold a meaningful dialogue. For petty and more serious criminals, restorative justice gives them the opportunity to right their wrongs where possible. It gives them the chance to make amends and move on, having learned from the experience.
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