opinion

'My heart is breaking for 18-year-old Jamie Murphy arrested in Bali.'

Last night 18-year-old Jamie Murphy from Perth was entering a night club in Kuta, Bali with his friends. He was pulled aside by security. He was searched. A small plastic baggie of white powder was found in his bum bag.

In video footage we can see him say, “What are you doing, that’s not mine?” A hand clasps his jaw. The guard is trying to get him to face the camera. They shine a light on his face.

Jamie Murphy was searched at a club in Kuta. Image via Facebook.

"It's not miiineee." Voice bordering on hysteria. "I don't do that shit." His eyes are screaming as they restrain him then push him into a police van.

Later, he is seen with his head in his hands at the police station. "My god," you can hear Murphy say, under the harsh florescent lighting.

He is a young man (a boy, almost) and he is terrified.

He should be. The penalty for being found guilty of drug possession in Bali is a maximum of 12 years in prison. An $800,0000 fine.

Under Indonesian law, Murphy can be held for three days while an investigation takes place, and another three days before an arrest needs to be made. His blood and urine have been taken for analysis, along with the powder.

Perth Now has reported that these drug tests, on the powder and the blood and urine, have been completed. The results, according to Perth Now, have come back negative.

Murphy's friends have claimed from the beginning the baggie was planted by police.

Murphy's friends wait at the police station as their the Perth teen is questioned. Image via Nine News.
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Even though reports say the bag "is not drugs", there has been no official statement from Bali police.

Murphy is still in jail. Still waiting for news. And it must feel like torture.

Young Australians like Murphy have grown up watching the strange courtrooms, pale faces and hysterical breakdowns in concrete jail cells that follow the words "drugs in Bali". Think Schapelle Corby, The Bali Nine.

Maybe that's why my heart is breaking for the Perth teen.

He knows the drill. He just never expected it would be his face ducking the cameras outside an Indonesian jail.

Maybe it's because Murphy is young. He has a future ahead of him. He's an up-and-coming soccer player. He's been trialled for the Perth Glory A-League team, and he currently plays for Bayswater City. His position is wing. His jersey number is "7".

Maybe it's because we've all done stupid things where the consequences, should they have occurred, might have been much, much more severe than the act itself.

Murphy is a talented soccer star. Via Facebook.

Maybe it's because he's an 18-year-old male. And there is something about frightened 18-year-old not-quite-men that puts a strange feeling in your stomach.

My brother was 18 once. He was, is, so tough. Aside from the big, looming, clumsy, smiling, can't-quit-stay-still exterior, an 18-year-old boy has a soft spot from which everything can come undone at the smallest touch.

I see this in Murphy. As he left the police station this morning, being transported somewhere else, he was trying to be brave. His walk had confidence, certainty. We know 18 year olds are great at acting brave. But inside, he must feel scared, angry even. He must want his parents. He must be replaying everything in his head. He surely wants his own bed. His soccer boots. He must want to go for a swim.

Regardless of what the investigation finds. Regardless if he is guilty or innocent. My heart breaks for Jamie Murphy because, no matter what happens, his life will never be the same again. That fear, it must be unforgettable.