Stab Magazine | The Case Of The Murdered Bali Cop Moves Forward
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The Case Of The Murdered Bali Cop Moves Forward

All the latest from the ongoing murder trials of Byron Bay couple David Taylor and Sara Connor.

news // Nov 30, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Indonesian legal teams tasked with prosecuting the Byron Bay-based couple allegedly responsible for the murder of a Balinese police officer have released their indictment of the accused. With judges also deciding that there is enough evidence to pursue the charge of second-degree murder against both David Taylor and Sara Connor, despite Connor’s lawyers hoping for a downgrade. 

Connor’s lawyers argued the only charge she should face is concealing evidence, which carries a maximum nine month jail sentence. Instead, if found guilty of murder she will face up to 15 years in jail. Connor, who ran a a pasta-making business in Byron Bay and who has two children, was in Bali with her boyfriend, Byron-based British-born DJ, David Taylor, when the incident occurred.

“I’m not guilty,” Connor said following the decision, which was handed down last week. “I didn’t kill. I just happened to be there during the incident.”

The couple have been indicted in the Denpasar District Court on charges of murder, fatal group violence or assault causing death. The boyfriend, Taylor, has admitted to bashing the police officer, Wayan Sudarsa, with a beer bottle but not to killing him.

“I hit the victim’s face with (his binoculars) and later with the (beer) bottle,” Taylor said during his testimony. “That was for self-defence… It is not true that I killed (him), it was only self-defence.”

The fight between the three is alleged to have kicked off after Taylor asked officer Sudarsa where his girlfriend’s missing bag was. Believing Sudarsa was a ‘fake cop’ he then attempted to frisk the officer triggering the brawl. Sudarsa’s body was found shortly after next to a broken Bintang bottle on the beach at Kuta with 42 wounds to his body and head. The victim’s identity cards were also found cut up, which Taylor said was his girlfriend’s idea.

“The one cutting (Mr Sudarsa’s) identity cards was Sara and it was Sara’s idea,” he said.

Ms Connor maintains she was only trying to separate officer Sudarsa and David Taylor after the fight erupted and says she did not find out about the officer’s death until two days after the incident, having left the beach thinking he was simply passed out.

“(Connor said,) When I learned (of his death), I was very sad,” said Connor’s lawyer. “I sympathise with the victim’s family. I want to help the victim’s family and I want to go back to my family. I am innocent and I want to go home soon.”

The prosecuting team allege that Sara “pulled the victim from behind” as he sat on top of Taylor and that officer Sudarsa fought back by biting Ms Connor on her left thigh and left arm. They also allege she had held the victim’s neck by her left hand at one point.

A forensic examination carried out by Dr Dudut Restiadi at Sanglah hospital said it appeared as though Mr Sudarsa had been attacked by “a few people.” Connor also says there were more people involved in the fight than her and Taylor.

The couple’s cases are being heard separately and are expected to last several weeks. An online Byron Bay community put the call out for donations and supporters of Connor’s to pen character references for her ahead of the trial, via the website thesarafund.com.

“All of Byron unite in harmony and wish the world to know that Sara is one of the most generous, fun, honest and loved women in the Byron Bay community,” writes the website, which attracted 70 character references in the lead up to the hearings. “She is incredibly inclusive of everyone, making sure anyone in her company feels nurtured and cared for. She has a huge heart. Her love for her boys is the biggest love in her life. She is very passionate about life and exudes enthusiasm wherever she goes.”

A crowdfunding campaign led by the Bali-based Solemen’s outreach team, meanwhile, has raised US$8000 ($10,500) to assist the family of the murdered police officer. The head of the charity’s outreach team recalled the time Officer Sudarsa had responded to their calls to assist a mentally ill Irishmen who had been spotted walking the streets of Kuta with “horrific” leg injuries from a motorbike accident.

“Wayan Sudarsa left a widow and two children who now need financial support to meet living and educational costs, and to pay for Bali-Hindu ceremonies that will ensure the peaceful repose of their father and husband,” reads the website. “On an island where we are very quick to launch humanitarian funding campaigns for hapless tourists in hospital who come to the Island, get drunk and fall off a motorcycle or to fund an operation for a wounded stray dog, we desire to step up and set up a special fund to aid the family of the fallen policeman.”

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