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Teen Electrocuted by Retail Sign on Street in Bali

BALI, Indonesia – police are considering bringing charges of criminal negligence following the death by electrocution of central coast teenager Jake Flannery – but they don’t know who exactly to blame.

As the parents of the popular young man were due to arrive at the holiday island late tonight for the sad task of bringing their son’s body home, police are investigating whether the owners of the Joker’s Cafe, the government electricity provider or the local Public Works Office is responsible.

Mr Flannery, 18, died instantly at about 3am on Saturday morning after he stumbled and grabbed onto a neon sign owned by the Kuta establishment as he tried to squeeze around a large pile of pavers that had been left on the street.

It had been raining heavily before the accident, which occurred when Mr Flannery was walking down the street with a group of friends who had travelled with him to Bali to celebrate schoolies.

While Colin Flannery, the teenager’s father, has said the family blames no one, a Kuta Police senior detective, Inspector Muhammad Wahyudin Latif, told the Jakarta Globe: “There are very strong indications of criminal negligence in this case, but we haven’t set our sights on any one party yet.”

Inspector Muhammad was speaking after police staged a re-enactment of the accident, requiring Mr Flannery’s friends to return to the scene to participate in the Indonesian police tradition.

A spokesman for Bali’s electricity company, Agung Mastika, said: “It’s not our responsibility. Our responsibility ends at the meter. It is the responsibility of the client. It [the accident] didn’t happen on the street, we sent someone to check [on Saturday] and we notified the cafe owner.”

The manager of Joker’s Cafe, which also sells alcohol, told media that tourists were to blame for the accident. Inebriated foreigners often bumped into the sign, and probably damaged the wiring, he said.

The Badung Works Office, which left the pile of pavers in the street, was unwilling to comment yesterday.

As the blame game gathered pace, the parents of Mr Flannery have shown great composure and grace as they dealt with the unexpected death of a much-loved son.

The parents, Colin and Cheryl, and Mr Flannery’s sisters are going to Bali “to make peace”, rather than find a culprit. Colin Flannery told Channel Ten the family accepted it was an unfortunate accident.

“Jake was a wonderful boy who gave so much love to everyone. He had a wonderful life ahead of him and it’s such a tragedy that it’s been cut short,” the family said in a statement released yesterday.

“We have wonderful memories of him. The reason we are going to Bali today is to bring Jake home and to thank the people who helped him over there. We also want to make peace.”

A spokesman for Bali’s main hospital, Sanglah, said it was “rare” to treat victims of electrocution. Months would go by without any victims presenting at the hospital, said Dr Dudut, who goes by one name.

Even so, Indonesia is a developing country and there was no shortage of commentary in response to Mr Flannery’s death bemoaning the dire state of electrical work in Bali and elsewhere across the archipelago.

A Bali-based Australian and blogger, Vyt Karazija, wrote he was not surprised by the tragedy.

“The quality of electrical work is abysmal,” he posted.

“I ride past villas under construction and see bare electrical cable being laid in concrete slabs without the use of conduits, cabling with savage kinks being pulled tight in walls and roofs, and metal boxes with fragile wiring poking through roughly drilled holes without the protection of tape, much less a grommet. I see rat’s nests of wiring on poles and main boards of shops and houses.”

A post on the Jakarta Globe’s website observed: “Impassable sidewalks and shoddy electrical installations are par for the course throughout Indonesia.”

Another remarked on Bali’s cluttered streets: “You cannot walk 15 feet [five metres] in Bali without going around something on, near or built on any footpath.”

Read More: Story Via The Sydney Morning Herald

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