THE Australian teenager facing drugs charges in Bali remained composed during the first day of his trial, declining to contest evidence from two witnesses that he purchased cannabis in the holiday hub of Kuta four weeks ago.
The hearing lasted barely an hour but the 14-year-old was put at ease by the judge, Amser Simanjuntak, who told him that all in the courtroom were "family" and he should remain relaxed.
"The judge said we are one family. Don't be afraid," said the teenager's lawyer Muhammad Rifan. "The boy said 'thank you' because the judge really not make him scared ... He got some confidence by the judge."
His mother was in the courtroom to comfort the youth but his father was absent after returning to Australia for business commitments.
Media were barred from covering proceedings.
After the indictment was read out by prosecutors, two security guards who witnessed the arrest gave evidence, confirming that police did not plant the drugs and that the cannabis was allegedly removed from the teenager's left pocket.
Neither the boy or his legal team objected to the evidence and will be basing their defence on an argument that the boy is a frequent user of marijuana, has sought previous treatment and should be released.
Earlier, the teenager was forced to run the gauntlet of a media pack donning his now familiar balaclava. Mr Rifan said the ordeal made him "unstable" and "very nervous".
He declined to comment as he was taken swiftly into a building.
The trial will resume on Friday, when the remaining witnesses for the prosecution and the defence are expected to appear. The boy is also expected to make a statement to the court.
The youth was arrested four weeks ago outside a massage parlour while on holiday in Bali after allegedly being found with 3.6 grams of cannabis.
Lawyers for the boy and Australian diplomats have lobbied hard for him to avoid trial entirely, but the case will proceed under new Indonesian drug laws that provide for leniency for users. The laws are untested for foreign juveniles.
Mr Rifan said this morning he was "confident" of a good outcome for his client.
Indonesian authorities have set up a special court room for the teenager, complete with curtains adorned with characters from the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, to prevent the media from photographing proceedings and to make the boy feel comfortable.
The boy was arrested under three articles of Indonesia's drug laws and prosecutors were due today to read out their indictment and call four witnesses: two police officers who detained him and two residents who observed the arrest.
A single judge, rather than the usual panel of three, will preside over the case and it will be up to him to determine which of the charges, which have yet to be laid, best fits the boy's alleged offence after hearing the evidence.
Media are banned for watching the proceedings as it is a juvenile case.
Two of the potential charges, for possession and for use of a narcotic, carry prison terms while under the other, under article 128.2 of the drug laws, the boy would be released immediately.
Under article 128.2, the judge must accept the boy has a history of drug use and his parents has previously sought treatment for the problem.
A letter from a Hunter Valley GP and a NSW Police report will be tendered as evidence to back the defence case that article 128.2 is the most appropriate.
While the maximum prison term the boy could serve is six years under the possession charge, it is highly unlikely this will be the outcome.
The trial is expected to last two weeks.