Home > Oz Politics > Schapelle Corby, the Bali 9 and the war on drugs

Schapelle Corby, the Bali 9 and the war on drugs

May 27th, 2005

Like lots of others, I’m not too happy about the Corby case. But I think most of the complaints from Australia have been misdirected. The problem is not with the trial which, while not as procedurally tight as the Australian equivalent, seemed basically fair[1] to me. The real problem is with Corby’s twenty year sentence. The likely imposition of the death penalty on the Bali heroin smugglers is even worse.

The reason that attention hasn’t been focused on this issue is that, as a society, we’re fairly hypocritical about the war on drugs. At one level, we recognise that it’s essentially pointless and unwinnable, like a lot of wars. So we’ve gradually backed away from lengthy prison sentences for bit players, and even abandoned the idea that the capture of a few “Mr Big Enoughs” would make any real difference. But it’s still convenient for us that our neighbours should have draconian laws, the burden of which falls mainly on their own citizens. It’s only when a sympathetic figure like Corby gets 20 years for an offence that might have drawn a good behavior bond in Australia, or when some stupid young people end up facing a firing squad that the contradictions are exposed.

fn1. That is, as fair as other drugs trials. The nature of the war on drugs is that normal legal principles have to be suspended if the law is going to be made to work at all. The routine use of procedures bordering on entrapment, and the effective reversal of the onus of proof, once possession is established, are examples of this, in Australia just as much as in Indonesia.

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  1. anon
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:01 | #1

    Do you think Corby would have been convicted in an Australian court with a decent defense team? Particularly in light of recent facts about the lax baggage handling procedures here?

    If your answer is “no” then how can you say the trial is “basically fair”?

  2. derrida derider
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:15 | #2

    Who’s to say that in fact she would have got a decent defense team in Australia? Incompetent lawyers are not confined to Indonesia. And on the evidence we’ve seen she probably would have been convicted in Oz – especially as she would have had neither the massive favourable publicity nor a generous bankroller hoping to sell her story to the women’s magazines.

    Mick Kelty’s right – the baggage handler story is basically a furphy (the suspect handlers were handling *incoming* baggage, and were part of a ring with a very different MO). And her version of the story has some definite holes.

    I really don’t know whether Corby is guilty or not – but then neither do you, anon. And yes, the trial seemed basically fair. John’s point about the hypocrisy of the War on Some Drugs, though, is right.

  3. May 27th, 2005 at 18:34 | #3

    Well said, John. The question of guilt must be for the court. We can have no useful opinion on it.

    The sentence is different. It is somthing I am deeply opposed to. No matter in which country it is used. (It has been described as surprisingly light by such as Professor Tim Lindsey.)

  4. anon
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:40 | #4

    Derrida, I never claimed she was innocent, only that I doubt she would have been found guilty here, which calls into question the OP’s claim that the trial was “basically fair”. The only “basically fair” thing about it that I can see is that the judges are at least consistent: they never acquit.

    They caught suspect handlers over incoming baggage, but that raises plenty of doubt about the whole baggage handling process. And there was plenty more doubt raised in the media – for example the lax security procedures governing the baggage handlers.

    Also, it is highly unlikely that if she had been caught in Australia her bags would not have been fingerprinted. And had they not been fingerprinted, that would have been a strong arrow in the defense quiver.

    In future, instead of my usual “yes” in response to “did you pack your bags and have they been in your possession since then” at the checkin counter, I will be saying “yes, and will you please indemnify me against any tampering by your baggage handlers otherwise I’m carrying the lot on with me”.

  5. May 27th, 2005 at 18:40 | #5

    I am not sure how the drug trafficking laws are drafted in Indonesia. For certain kinds of offences, absolute liability applies, meaning there is no requirement for the judge to be convinced of an intention to commit an offence.

    In Australia, a well understood example of an absolute liability offence is speeding offences.

    In a country where drugs are a serious problem, these laws in effect make it an offence of negligently allowing drugs to be imported into the country. The news reports don’t seem to be indicating this. Does anyone have the text of the judgement?

  6. anon
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:41 | #6

    “The question of guilt must be for the court. We can have no useful opinion on it.”

    Speak for yourself, wbb.

  7. doss
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:49 | #7

    After watching the verdict being handed down and the way the whole case was summed up I was very unimpressed. It may have been fairly tight in terms of procedure, but it didn’t get within a bulls roar of being fair.

    In the judges opinion the drugs were found in her bag, therefore she is guilty of importing them, because she was unable to prove that someone else in particular did it. Any evidence that someone else could very possibly have done it was disregarded.

    It really seemed like a conclusion where no one would be jailed was unacceptable. The evidence was far from conclusive, but someone had to carry the can.

    I know very little about the indonesian legal system. Is it normal there for the defendant to have to prove that they are innocent and that someone else is guilty? Is there a requirement for proof beyond reasonable doubt?

    She may be guilty, I don’t know. The trial was basically fair, but the way the judgement was reached was not.

  8. Ros
    May 27th, 2005 at 18:56 | #8

    The generous bankroller is a problem particularly as he seems to owe more money than he has (Bulletin) It is to be hoped that Schapelle, when she goes to appeal accepts this time the Australian government’s offer of 2 experienced QC’s to assist in her defence, something she apparently chose not to do for the trial. Mr Bakir?
    Listening to the judges summing up he did not as I recall address the issue of intent rather went through the incriminating and exculpating evidence and concluded that she had flouted the law against importation of narcotics.

  9. jquiggin
    May 27th, 2005 at 19:06 | #9

    I would think that, in the reverse situation of an Indonesian arriving in Australia, and drugs being found in their baggage, a conviction would have been very likely, even if the person concerned claimed to have no knowledge of how they got there. Certainly an Australian court would not have admitted the hearsay evidence put forward in Corby’s defence. On the other hand, it would have been more likely to rule out some of the police evidence on procedural grounds. A better defence team might have done a better job on this.

    In general, it’s a feature of the war on drugs that normal legal principles have to be suspended if the law is going to be made to work at all. The routine use of procedures bordering on entrapment, and the effective reversal of the onus of proof, once possession is established, are examples of this, in Australia just as much as in Indonesia.

  10. anon
    May 27th, 2005 at 19:21 | #10

    “I would think that, in the reverse situation of an Indonesian arriving in Australia, and drugs being found in their baggage, a conviction would have been very likely”

    Maybe “more likely” rather than “very likely”, not least of all because there is a prima face profit motive coming the other way.

  11. May 27th, 2005 at 19:36 | #11

    It seems that the accepted wisdom amongst the Australian and European expat community is that there is a market for Australian dealt marijuana in Bali.

    I wonder if any of the well-heeled customers of such marijuana trading feel a tinge of guilt tonight. One of the great hypocrisies with the so-called war on drugs” is that the customer is painted as a victim while the supplier is demonised. It takes two to tango. And often roles are interchangeable.

  12. nick
    May 27th, 2005 at 19:43 | #12

    ‘In future, [snip] “did you pack your bags and have they been in your possession since thenâ€? at the checkin counter, I will be saying “yes, and will you please indemnify me against any tampering by your baggage handlers otherwise I’m carrying the lot on with meâ€?.’

    Flying on tuesday, I’ll try it…

    without holding my breath…

  13. Jim
    May 27th, 2005 at 20:10 | #13

    It’s a pretty brutal sentence considering the crime. It doesn’t seem to be consistent with the treatment of Bashir for instance.
    The evidence was pretty straightforward though – and she didn’t really have a defence other than her denial.
    What a waste of the best years of a life.

  14. May 27th, 2005 at 20:23 | #14

    It’s a rather brutal sentence considering the doubt about her guilt/innocence. If there was no doubt, the sentence is fine.

    The death penalty for the “Bali 9″, while perhaps worse (from a lawbreakers point of view) can hardly be complained about.

  15. observa
    May 27th, 2005 at 20:58 | #15

    “I would think that, in the reverse situation of an Indonesian arriving in Australia, and drugs being found in their baggage, a conviction would have been very likely, even if the person concerned claimed to have no knowledge of how they got there.”

    Agreed John but we must also understand what Schapelle Corby is asking us and the Indonesian judges to believe. I weighed my son’s boogy board, flippers and bag(the equipment he has taken to Bali twice himself) and would you believe it- 4.1 Kg in total. Now you will have to add or subtract 100g or so for the innacuracy of my kitchen scales. What Corby wants you to believe, is that she loaded her approx 4.1kg board on the plane in Brisbane and when it doubled in weight(4.1Kg marijuana) and probably thickness, she did not notice anything suspicious until she opened it on the counter after she had lifted it on there herself. Gentlemen, the lady is either a liar or mentally incompetent. She knew the game was up and admitted as much to the customs officers, but changed her story after realising the serious situation she was in. That’s why they didn’t bother about fingerprints on the MJ bag, because they had all the evidence they needed to get the inevitable conviction. Question: Do you think Corby is mentally incompetent?

  16. Simon Musgrave
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:07 | #16

    “I would think that, in the reverse situation of an Indonesian arriving in Australia, and drugs being found in their baggage, a conviction would have been very likely, even if the person concerned claimed to have no knowledge of how they got there.�

    For very pertinent material on this question, see the letter published in The Age today (Friday) about some Japanese nationals convicted in Australia on drugs charges.

    http://www.theage.com.au/letters/index.html

  17. Homer Paxton
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:15 | #17

    The price of the drug is much higher in Asutralia than in Bali.
    Either this is one hell of stupid woman or she is the first person who DOESN’T sell any product in the market at the highest price.

    if she was merely a ‘mule’ then the transport costs would have been quite high for a market where the price isn’t. That doesn’t take into account it would be cheaper to make it in Bali.

    She would either lose money or make a lot less money than in Australia .

    Why didn’t the defence team have the drugs checked for their origin?

  18. Steve
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:25 | #18

    Observa,

    JQ’s original post was about the sentence rather her innocence. I think the conversation about whether Shapelle is innocent or not has been done to death over the past few months.

    Shapelle was found guilty, but regardless of whether the verdict is correct, the sentence is ridiculous.

    Steve at the pub, drink up mate in the happy knowledge that even though alcohol contributes more to social breakdown and death than cannabis or heroin, it’s legal in both Australia and Indonesia so thats ok.

  19. James Farrell
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:32 | #19

    Observa, suppose that when she took her back off the carousel she did notice the extra weight and volume, opend the bag and discovered the dope. What would she have done? What would you have done?

    And where did you read that ‘she knew the game was up and admitted as much to the customs officers’? Surely you’re not basing this on what that customs guy said on the 7.30 Report last night.

    I’m with ‘anon’. But it seems to me it’s not so much the judges’ unfavourable reading of the evidence that makes it unfair, as the difference in the burden of proof. I think it’s clear that, given the lack of fingerprints, and the availability of an alternative explanation, there is a reasonable doubt that she did it.

    What I still don’t understand fully is what exactly the burden of proof is. I’ve heard people say that one is ‘guilty until proven innocent’ in Indonesia; also that judgments are based on the balance of probability; also that the judges consider only the prima facie evidence, whatever that means in this context;, and I’ve also heard all of the above said about European criminal law on which Indonesian law is suposedly based.

    If any or all of this is true, it means that, even when the evidence is weighed expertly, these systems are less fair than ours, not just for Corby but for anyone indicted for anything. Can any of the lawyers out there give me a 25-word course on comparative criminal law?

    Having said all that, I agree with John and wbb about the sentences. Ridiculously disproportionate.

  20. observa
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:33 | #20

    “She would either lose money or make a lot less money than in Australia .”
    Heard a so called expert on ABC radio say the 4.1kg of very high powered ‘skank’ was worth $80,000 and highly prized for tourist consumption in Bali. There is a smuggling trade of this skank into the country as the local stuff is fairly mild and worthless. The ‘stupid’ Bali 9 were apparently carrying heroin for $10-15000 reward each Homer. Go figure.

    “Why didn’t the defence team have the drugs checked for their origin?”
    And if it was categorically proved that it came from Oz as assumed, how would that assist her defense?

  21. observa
    May 27th, 2005 at 21:48 | #21

    “Observa, suppose that when she took her back off the carousel she did notice the extra weight and volume, opend the bag and discovered the dope. What would she have done? What would you have done?”

    James, I put it to you if my son found on picking it up off the carousel, his boogy board had doubled in weight and thickness (and the back had a lumpy soft feel to it) he would have incredulously opened it there and then in front of his mates. His and their shock at the contents would have been obvious to all gathered and they would have called the authorities. Some explaining to do no doubt.

    “And where did you read that ‘she knew the game was up and admitted as much to the customs officers’”
    Customs officers testimony in the court, which Corby denied in court.

    I agree wholeheartedly the penalty doesn’t seem to fit the crime re the Bali bomber conspirators.

  22. May 27th, 2005 at 21:54 | #22

    I’m opposed to the criminalisation of marijuana on libertarian grounds, and to the misallocation of police resources and the civil liberties implications of the war on druges.

    However, John, with that amount in her possession, Corby, assuming she was found guilty by an Australian court, would have done jail time. Though nothing like 20 years. Although under the Drugs Misuse Act Joh introduced in Queensland in the 80s, she could have done 14 years.

  23. May 27th, 2005 at 22:04 | #23

    Er…. Observa, James et al… as I understand it, she did NOT pick her bag up from the carousel, her brother (rugby player, weight lifter, fairly brawny type) hefted it for her, & she did not touch it until the customs officer asked whose bag, she said “it’s my boogie board bag” & opened it.

    “Steve”, this thread is not a pro-drugs line, it is a “severity of sentence” thread. I do point out to you that the impace of herion etc on society would be vastly changed if it was consumed by as many people, as regualarly & in the quantities which alcohol is.

    Drinking up may be something you do often, or are in fact doing now, but I shan’t be, as teetotallers rarely do.

    The severerity of the sentence looming over the Bali 9… well, it can’t get much more severe, however, there is no doubt of their guilt, & the penalty was known in advance.

  24. observa
    May 27th, 2005 at 22:34 | #24

    As I understood it Steve, Corby was waiting at the green line with the board when they were told to go over to the red line for checking. At the counter the brother had the board beside him when the customs officer asked if it was his. Schapelle eagerly stated it was hers and put it on the counter as he asked and he asked her to open it, she opened the small zip pocket at the front to show him there was nothing in it . According to the officer’s testimony she was quite nervy and he was suspicious and he asked her to open the large zipped bag proper. She opened it part way which exposed the MJ bag to view and closed it again quickly and didn’t want to open it again. She was then escorted to a side room where she had to open it and admitted it was MJ and hers, etc. She denies the admissions of guilt.

    Quest: Was she carrying the drugs for someone she knew very well and they had previously agreed she was the less likely to be searched? What a dilemma for that person and Schapelle now if that’s the case?

  25. Benno
    May 27th, 2005 at 22:40 | #25

    whether she is guilty or not that evidence is just as much hearacy as everything else both sides have put forward.

  26. observa
    May 27th, 2005 at 22:51 | #26

    Quest: Has Schapelle Corby ever been a regular boogy boarder bloggers? She doesn’t look the surfie type to me and very few girls are.

    If Schapelle Corby naively agreed to be a drug mule for someone very close to her, then when she was caught she would probably exhibit all the traits of someone who feels she is largely innocent.

  27. Benno
    May 27th, 2005 at 23:05 | #27

    She could be guilty, but there is no substantial case for it.

  28. May 27th, 2005 at 23:52 | #28

    observa, she’s from the Gold Coast, her brother is a surfie, she’s been pictured previously in newspapers on the beach with a surfboard.

  29. May 28th, 2005 at 00:30 | #29

    “When it finally came time for her to talk about the end of her personal hell, it all became too much for Chika Honda.

    For 10 long years, she lived a grim, desperate life in Victorian jails for a crime she says she did not commit. Now, in her first hours as a free woman back in her homeland, the emotion took over….

    …The past decade has been a nightmare for Ms Honda, 46. She was one of five Japanese tourists arrested in 1992 at Melbourne Airport for smuggling almost 13 kilograms of heroin.

    They claimed to be innocents abroad who were victims of a set-up, their fate compounded by inadequate interpretation during police interviews and the trial that led to a miscarriage of justice.”

    The Age reporting the story Simon Musgrave refers to.

    Do not for a moment think the Australian courts would necessarily do a better job than the Indonesians. We should be ashamed of this case.

    I would also beware of direct comparisons between Indonesian procedures and ours. They got their system from the Dutch, working on Roman rather than common law. Most Europeans would say their system is fairer than ours.

  30. Ros
    May 28th, 2005 at 00:40 | #30

    and the effective reversal of the onus of proof, once possession is established, are examples of this,

    Don’t get this, makes me think of that US show where the lawyers as a last ditch went to plan B, nominate someone else as the perp. The problem is that it is unethical without proof. In this case Mr Bakir and co simply nominated the Australian baggage handlers as a class.
    Judge said that they hadn’t proved this at all, which they hadn’t.
    The lawyers seem to be of one mind that the case. was proved

    In the meantime 15 yr old Australians are in goal in Hong Kong and Australians are sitting on death row in Thailand and Singapore, being quietly advocated for by Australia. Those individuals must be praying that the Australian media doesn’t decide to get involved.

    I was taken with Schapelle’s dignity and courage, but that proves nothing.
    I am deeply saddened by the thought of a young woman losing the best years of her life even if she is guilty. It seems so harsh.

    But where are the universal moral laws that say that the sentences imposed by Indonesia (or Asia period) are excessive. They judge differently, and if you want to sell prime pot, even if it is to expatriats, in Indonesia for profit, then that is a choice that you have made.

  31. May 28th, 2005 at 00:54 | #31

    Agreed, David. And agreed, again. The criticism of the Indo legal system is unfruitful as JQ started up this discussion by saying.

    The present and immediate brutality and widespread hypocrisy of locking up a young person for a very long time is right now the thing that is very confronting. She was convicted of carrying marijuana. Marijuana.

    There are no Balinese kids overdosing on marijuana tonight on the streets of Denpasar. There are only German backpackers laying back in their losmen enjoying the starry skies. Consumers make the market here. They are complicit in Corby’s private hell.

  32. May 28th, 2005 at 00:59 | #32

    “where are the universal moral laws”

    Ros – we make those up for ourselves. Why be hog tied by the antiquated beliefs of others? If something is right for you, you only need to start saying it, and if enough others join you then, hey presto, it soon becomes the “universal” moral law.

    For a time.

  33. observa
    May 28th, 2005 at 01:32 | #33

    I came to the same conclusion as the 3 judges because of a filmed interview I saw with Schapelle on TV today. It was a replay of an old interview with her in prison, where she was going over the opening of the boogy bag. She was saying how she enthusiastically claimed the board as hers when it looked like the customs officer thought it was her brothers. She waved her hands emotively saying how she was so happy to be on holiday in Bali as she put the board on the counter. She opened the small zip then the large zip and she let slip she did close it up again, which concurs with the customs officer’s report. Now the way she was gesticulating and describing how happy she was to claim and hand over the board was too pat for me and I could understand why customs would think she was suspicious. Over eager to please, but only with the small pocket zip. That film take made me believe there was something rotten in Denmark which I’ve been alluding to above.

    Well Benno more hearsay for those who might like to believe Indo Customs officers are in the habit of hearsaying western tourists in Bali. Mrs O came home a while ago and I said I thought Schapelle was covering for someone very close to her, who probably likes boogy boarding. Coincidentally, that’s what she had heard today from a work colleague who might just have a friend in Foreign Affairs. Apparently Oz and Indo FAs might believe that to be the case too. Now if a very close ‘friend’ of Schapelles, who perhaps likes boogy boarding a lot had convinced her she’d waltz through customs with his(perhaps a her) dope, now where would he be? To own up and get Schapelle off, he’d have to convince the Indos she knew nothing about it, after they’ve already taken the word of the customs officer that she owned up to knowing the MJ was in there. Poor Schapelle and friend eh? What if the whole Corby family think they know what perhaps Oz and Indo FAs and yours truly think we know? Streuth, wouldn’t they be pissed at the ‘injustice’of it all?

    Sorry to be a bit vague tonight guys but you know how it is.

  34. observa
    May 28th, 2005 at 01:48 | #34

    I should add I thought Schapelle was a tower of strength to her hysterical family in court today. They seem like a fairly close knit bunch, but I do wonder if one of them will crack under the strain of it all.

  35. May 28th, 2005 at 02:01 | #35

    I shouldn’t wonder if they do, observa. Homo Sapiens has a propensity for such antics. Nice to able to sit here and pass judgement on their performance.

  36. Ros
    May 28th, 2005 at 02:02 | #36

    Well Observa that is the value though isn’t it of this blogging world. That which is not reported in the old media is thrown around and considered.
    For those who are interested there is a poster Habib who is a customs broker and who has some useful stuff. On Tim Blair though so may be a bit down market for some.

  37. May 28th, 2005 at 02:31 | #37

    Yeah, just a little bit, Ros.

  38. May 28th, 2005 at 03:23 | #38

    Habib posting in comments at Tim Blair actually put it very coherently, & very objectively.

  39. Michael Palaeologus
    May 28th, 2005 at 07:23 | #39

    The rush to re-judge the case is beside John’s main point, which needs much closer attention. The ‘war on drugs’ is being prosecuted hypocritically in rich countries, which are exporting the collateral damage to poor ones. It is most evident in Central and South America where good governance is well-nigh impossible due to the massive flow through of narco-money. The USs so-called war on drugs serves mainly to keep prices high. The US does not bother prosecuting the millions of drug users there and tolerates illicit drug use so long as the biggest problems are confined to the lumpen-proletariat. Meanwhile, the citizens of Central and South America, not big users of illicit drugs themselves, are subject to massive levels of daily crime and violence as a direct consequence of US policies.

    There are only 2 rational options for the US.
    1. lock up every single drug userrs or seller in the US. (Forget the crap about concentrating on the big dealers – all a smokescreen for maintiaing high prices). It might have a differential impact on poor and black populations in the US – but will help relieve the lot of the even poorer latin americans who are current the war’s collateral damage.
    2. Abandon the war on drugs, sigh and say prohibition was never a viable idea.

  40. James Farrell
    May 28th, 2005 at 08:22 | #40

    ‘…Roman rather than common law. Most Europeans would say their system is fairer than ours.’

    David, I’m not sure if this is meant in any way as a response to my query above, but I was hoping for something a little more enlightening. At face value, if the main difference between ‘Roman’ law and ours is that prosecuters have a lighter burden of poof, that would seem less fair. Is there some element of the ‘Roman’ system that compensates for this? Is it the non-adversarial nature of the system, which means that defendents are not at the mercy of juries who could be swayed by ruthless prosecuters? Or is it that a more complete range of evidence is drawn upon? If the latter, this doesn’t seem to apply to the Corby case, where two pieces of evidence in her favour were apparently disregarded.

    For the record, I have no opinion whether Corby is guilty.

  41. Mark Upcher
    May 28th, 2005 at 09:14 | #41

    I know this is not directly related to JQ’s original post but it is has puzzled me about the whole baggage handler angle.

    Part of Corby’s defence rested on the claim that baggage handlers put the drugs in her unlocked luggage in Brisbane and that then a Sydney baggage handler failed to pick up the drugs when they arrived in Sydney.

    Can someone please to me why people involved in the drug trade would use such a risky procedure? It requires (1) the baggage handler in Brisbane to be able to stow a 4kg clear plastic bag in someone elses baggage without being noticed, (2) for the baggage handler to then contact his mate in the destination airport and give an accurate description of the bag that the drugs are in, (3) the baggage handler at the destination airport to be in the right place to locate and identify the bag and remove the drugs, again without being noticed. Sounds complicated to me and with a high chance of going wrong.

    Assuming the value of 4kg of dope is substantial, wouldn’t it be easier and safer to just DRIVE it down to Sydney?

  42. Ros
    May 28th, 2005 at 10:50 | #42

    I don’t know that we are fairly hypocritical about the war on drugs, rather Australians do recognise that it is an extremely difficult and complicated issue. I certainly don’t think that the average Australian thinks in terms of it is convenient for our Asian neighbours to have draconian laws, I doubt that most of the time they have any idea what their neighbours think about drugs or what their problems with them are. They leave the consideration of individual human events as elements of the moral bankruptcy of humanity and failure to aspire to the nobler and greater ought to those who enjoy contemplating the lives of the lumpen proletariat from the outside of the scrum

    I do think we are being weird about our choice of martyrs however. A fifteen year old, an Australian child, is sitting in a Hong Kong Goal, and he will be tried as an adult because he is older than fourteen, and he faces life imprisonment and he doesn’t get on to the media’s or Australian’s radar.

    Or maybe he should be grateful that the Australian media hasn’t decided to make him a cause celebre. As Schapelle should pray for if it is a year from now and her appeals have failed and the Australian government makes an appeal for clemency. No doubt the media and Kruddy will have moved on to the next feeding frenzy and she will disappear into the mist.

    The media was gross. One of them fell over and got trampled by his fellow bringers of the truth to us and I struggled to feel sorry for him.

  43. Peter Weatherall
    May 28th, 2005 at 12:45 | #43

    No derridarer the baggage handler possibility is not a furphy. It clearly showed that security at Australian airports in regard to baggage handlers was poor or non existent. Furthermore it showed that Kelty is a complete and utter drongo playing some idiotic game and should be sacked . As it turns out his effect on the trial was zip , as the judges were hanging ones . Keltys games also involved getting Australians arrrested in third world countries so that they can face the death penalty. The man is an utter disgrace aided and abetted by a morally lax government. This adds further weight to accusations of Federal Police involvement in the sinking of the SievX.

  44. Homer Paxton
    May 28th, 2005 at 12:51 | #44

    Observa,
    Here is the simple economics.

    The price of the drug is much higher in Australia than in Bali. The main demand there are people holidaying or exprtatriates who don’t trust indonesians when buying the stuff.

    It is a hellva lot cheaper to make the stuff there also. Easier to grow, corrupt cops etc are cheaper to bribe etal.

    In other words if she sells it in Asutralia she makes a lot more money.
    In you own words go figure!

    Moreover if she is a dealer or mule where has the money gone?
    Her lifestyle is not one that has gained such money in the past.

  45. May 28th, 2005 at 13:13 | #45

    i hate to ask this question – but to what extent is our expectation of innocence (and hence media sympathy) dependent on the presentation of the individual.

    I doubt a dreadlocked tattoed australian citizen would receive anywhere near that attention that Corby has.

    Guilt should be objective.

  46. May 28th, 2005 at 14:08 | #46

    Alpha, you are 100% correct on that. Innocent until proven guilty (provided you’re photogenic).

  47. May 28th, 2005 at 14:28 | #47

    Homer Paxton,
    Apparently Bali has been experiencing a shortage of weed, due to raids on crops. The local grown stuff is junk compared to Ozzi grown hydroponic weed. The expats in Bali prefer to buy from whites, (less chance of them being undercover cops) & surfshops are apparently a favourite place to buy from. Her sister owns a surf shop in Bail. Wonder why she needed to bring her own boogie board? Not say “go figure”… just something to keep in mind.

  48. derrida derider
    May 28th, 2005 at 14:55 | #48

    “I doubt a dreadlocked tattoed australian citizen would receive anywhere near that attention that Corby has.”

    Oh, its worse than that. I doubt that *any* Australian citizen of Asian extraction would have been so favourably treated by the Australian press.

    And on the evidence presented to the judges I’m certain she would indeed have been convicted in Australia. See how far you get blaming unspecified Indonesian baggage handlers if you’re discovered trying to get 4kg of weed through Australian customs. Which is not to say she mightn’t actually be innocent (though I think the odds are against it) – just that the judges can’t be blamed for the conviction if it was wrong.

  49. May 28th, 2005 at 17:16 | #49

    An Australian of Vietnamese extraction is currently in Vietnam awaiting death by firing squad, but you wont be seeing Channel Nine doing an exclusive interview with this person. What a shame he isn’t an attractive white girl.

    I also take some exception to people claiming the Marijuana is a ‘mild’ drug. It is NOT. Having spent many years supporting people with mental health issues, I can assure you that there is a definite link between dope and psychotic illness and severe depression – Terrible chronic illnesses with poor a prognosis.

  50. May 28th, 2005 at 17:39 | #50

    James – I too would love to know more about the system. Professor Tim Lindsey seems to be the expert, and GuruAnn has posted a few paras he used as a blurb to a lecture. Again, they are not detailed, but they help to fill some gaps.

  51. James Farrell
    May 28th, 2005 at 17:48 | #51

    You are right to point out media double standards, David. I assume you’re talking about Tran Van Thanh. His case was actually quite widely reported in the papers, and I think the government lobbied pretty vigorously for him and his co-accused. But his case hasn’t had the saturation coverage Corby’s has. Her celebrity is partly a snowball efect, I’m sure, but the fact that she’s ‘Australian’ and personable must be a factor.

    However, the appropriate response is not to leave Corby to her fate, but to use the opportunity to publicise all these cases of excessive penalties including Thanh’s.

    And what are we meant to infer from your comment about the effects of marijuana? That a twenty-year sentence is appropriate? You must be kidding. It may have adverse effects but are they worse than the effects of alcohol abuse? To the extent that selling vodka is a respectable business while selling dope warrants twenty years’ jail?

  52. James Farrell
    May 28th, 2005 at 17:52 | #52

    In case it’s not obvious, my previous comment was in reply to David H.

    To David T: Thanks for that link. I’ll check it out.

  53. May 28th, 2005 at 18:21 | #53

    Does anyone know what the minimum sentence for drug trafficking is in crimes of this nature? I would expect that the judge could observe the forms of (INDON) jurisprudence by convicting Ms Corby, whilst showing some political (towards AUS) discretion by handing down the minimum penalty to this woebegone lass.
    That would be the least he could do to placate the public outcry over the flaws in the prosecution case, and acknowledge the good-will generated by AUS’s largesse in the Tsunami appeal.

  54. Hayek’s left foot
    May 28th, 2005 at 18:51 | #54

    Re: Beautiful people get more attention, so what? Read Smith

    Fellas, just before we get all worked up again in self-guilt and how channel nine et al. preys on gold coast beauty therapists, let not forget that this bias is not something that has been constructed by the modern mass media, but is surely something that is an innate part of Homo Sapien’s nature. Beautiful people get more attention- it’s a fact of life. Whatever the angle, Corby’s case has undoubtedly made a lot of more people think about issues such as ‘what constitutes a fair legal system’ and the drug issue. Whats really annoying is that people do not simply pay attention to but rather have more sympathy for beautiful people. As all economists can tell you, the same point was raised in Adam Smith’s lectures on rhetoric and the moral sentiments. His advice: the impartial spectator within all of us is a learnt faculty, and one that gets better with practice. In short, we need more Ray martin, ACA, and gold coast beauticians in morally challenging situations.

  55. snuh
    May 28th, 2005 at 18:57 | #55

    the problem with “the baggage handler did it” defence is that, if you accept it, you also accept that no one will ever be found guilty of a drug trafficking offence ever again, provided they have the minimal intelligence to smuggle their drugs inside checked-in baggage. upon a cop or customs official finding the drugs in your bag, the accused just shrugs their shoulders and says “i have no idea how they got there. you can’t prove my intent” etc.

    as john pointed out, under australian law for trafficking offences, the onus of proof is reversed once possession is established. it is precisely because lawmakers want to make sure people will be found guilty, and pertinently because lawmakers want “the baggage handler did it” defence to have buckleys.

    while i do actually believe corby to have been innocent, i don’t doubt that on the available evidence [assuming an australian court would've let the hearsay evidence in, which is unlikely] she would’ve been convicted in an australian court.

  56. May 28th, 2005 at 19:10 | #56

    James Farrell,

    Yes, Nguyen Van Chinh was whom I was referring.

    Also, I understand how you may have concluded that I thought 20 years was a just sentence. This wasn’t the case. My comment was a general statement directed at many people I have heard/read stating that marijuana is a harmless drug.

  57. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 07:01 | #57

    “the problem with “the baggage handler did itâ€? defence is that, if you accept it, you also accept that no one will ever be found guilty of a drug trafficking offence ever again”

    BS. The baggage handler defense only has legs because of lax security procedures at Australian airports. If the airlines screened their handlers, if they installed hidden cameras in baggage areas, added more sophisticated tracking (eg recording baggage weight at checkin), etc, such a defense would be much harder to run.

    On another note, Tom Percy, One of the Australian QCs who has been asked to help Schapelle Corby’s defence team says he doubts she would have been found guilty if she had faced the same charges in Australia.

    So, JQ, are you going to retract your “basically fair” assessment of the trial? Either that, or you have to claim that an acquittal in Australia would be “basically unfair”.

    Somehow I doubt we’ll see a retraction; supporting the Indonesian justice system over Corby seems to have become another sacred cow of the politically correct latte left.

  58. Katz
    May 29th, 2005 at 08:23 | #58

    Regardless of the merits of the prosecution case in the matter of Corby, and regardless of the perceived harshness or appropriateness of the 20 year sentence, cynical populism is the winner.

    Is it any surprise that standards of Indonesian justice are different from Australian? Haven’t Corby and everyone one else with a 2 cent opinion on this matter been reading the newspapers for at least the past five years?

    Channel 9 has been blowing the dog whistle of racism with all its considerable might, and in true pavlovian fashion, Howard has thrown Corby a concrete life preserver in the form of two (count ‘em: TWO) QCs.

    Public policy takes another dip into the gutter.

  59. Paul Norton
    May 29th, 2005 at 09:17 | #59

    Katz, the politically interesting thing is that all the Howard Government’s efforts on Corby’s behalf haven’t satisfied the Corby family and Corby’s supporters generally (Corby’s mother – “people power will make Howard get off his arse”). It finds itself under criticism from people like ourselves (for making efforts on Corby’s behalf which aren’t being made on behalf of 155 other Australians in a similar plight around the world) and from the punters who apparently want it to engage in one or other Rambo act against Indonesia over the Corby case.

    I read in this morning’s papers that protest campaigns are being planned, including a vigil on Corby’s upcoming birthday. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Free Corby movement could intervene in some way in the next Federal election, if (as may well happen) the issue hasn’t been settled in Corby’s favour and is still at the front of the Mob’s mind by then. If this eventuates, my intuition is that it will be unhelpful for the Coalition, although for all my anti-Coalition instincts I would nonetheless be deeply troubled if an Australian government fell over such an unmeritorious issue.

  60. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 09:46 | #60

    “Unmeritorious issue”??

    Only amongst the politically correct crowd for whom any “Mob”-driven movement must, by definition, be unworthy.

    If you think the issue is unmeritorious then I want you to travel with me on my next overseas trip, as custodian of my bags. Better still, why don’t you offer baggage tampering indemnification to all Australians traveling internationally? I’d be willing to pay quite a bit for such insurance; you could make a killing.

  61. observa
    May 29th, 2005 at 09:54 | #61

    Reading the letters to the editor and listening to the airwaves I don’t think MSM can be accused of driving the hysteria, but rather are being driven by Joe Public on this. IMO the planets have all aligned to make Schapelle’s case one of conspicuous outrage for Oz.

    Yes its human nature to judge people by their looks and background and she looks like the girl next door. Also Oz doesn’t view possessing 4.1kg of MJ as a hanging offence, nor worthy of life or 20 yrs. However the vast majority could wear ‘when in Rome’ justice and penalties, providing they seemed somewhat consistent, which the penalty for Abu Bakr Bashir clearly did not. Shoot the bastard like Mukhlas! Enter the feeling that Indo justice is politically and culturally biased here. Also the spectre of corruption and being stitched up unjustly which has created a sense of paranoia for a well travelled Oz public, particularly when they see baggage handlers as having been involved in baggage tampering and coke smuggling. Shock, horror! There but for the grace of God go we all.

    The bottom line out of all this is that the vast majority now firmly believe Corby is a saint and want Howard to get the SAS in there or something, anything, to get this poor white woman out of the clutches of a bunch of ingrate(Tsunami relief) murdering, muslim, brown savages, which of course we know they are from ET. Guilt or innocence be buggered!

    Here’s a couple of representative samples from The Advertiser;

    “It may be time for the Aust Govt to review illegal fishing trade penalties. There is now good reason for mandatory life sentences.”

    “I am a fair minded Australian who applies logic to most things in life. I have always voted Liberal but never again! We here in Aust can only look at the Corby case from the outside but how this govt can let a person stay one day in prison and be convicted by a kangaroo court is beyond most fair thinking Australians… Howard and your cronies, you will never live this one down..”

    Imagine the ones they didn’t print?

  62. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 10:04 | #62

    How you get “clutches of a bunch of ingrate(Tsunami relief) murdering, muslim, brown savages, which of course we know they are from ET” from those letters to the Advertiser is beyond me.

    I don’t get the sense that this is a racist issue at all. Your other comments are valid, but not the racist line. Any Australian that has travelled to Indonesia knows it has a long way to go to become a first-world country. But that is just a fact, not racist.

  63. observa
    May 29th, 2005 at 11:11 | #63

    anon,
    I did say the airwaves(talkback) as well. Letters to the Ed in newspapers are generally a lot more modest and censored. Generally the criticism seems to have a strong cultural overtone, but ‘monkey country’ isn’t exactly racially PC. Just ask Aka about the use of the term ‘monkeys’.

    I believe the statement that Schapelle’s sister owns a surf shop in Bali is incorrect and an urban myth. Anyone got the real low down on that?

  64. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 11:27 | #64

    observa,
    There’s strong selection bias in the talkback shock-jocks – I don’t think they are representative of “Joe Public” as you put it.

    Needless to say, there is a wide range of opinion amongst the Australian public on this, and no doubt there will be racist ones too. But to tar every Australian who reacts negatively to the trial as racist is not credible – it is simply the usual trick employed by the policers of political correctness to stifle open debate.

  65. Paul Norton
    May 29th, 2005 at 12:16 | #65

    Who has tarred “*every Australian* who reacts negatively to the trial as racist”? It is simply stating the obvious to say that some such responses have been racist, whilst others (e.g. to withhold aid to tsunami survivors, to boycott Bali tourism) are clearly irrational, being both unjust to Indonesian people who have little control over the court proceedings, and almost certainly unhelpful to Schapelle Corby’s cause.

    Also, the “unmeritorious issue” I was referring to was not the need to improve baggage handling procedures at airports, the honestly held belief of many that the judges might have got it wrong, or the (in my view) thoroughly meritorious view that the action of which Corby has been convicted should not carry anything like a 20 year sentence. It is the idea that the Australian government should respond to adverse decisions against Australian nationals in the courts of neighbouring countries by dissing those countries’ judicial processes and doing “whatever it takes” to beat the neighbouring government into submission, including forms of collective punishment such as denial of humanitarian aid to people in desperate need, commercial boycotts against people who desperately need our trade, and even military action (some comments on pro-Corby sites have gone this far).

  66. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 13:32 | #66

    “Who has tarred “every Australian who reacts negatively to the trial as racist?â€?

    Observa has, viz:

    “The bottom line out of all this is that the vast majority now firmly believe Corby is a saint and want Howard to get the SAS in there or something, anything, to get this poor white woman out of the clutches of a bunch of ingrate(Tsunami relief) murdering, muslim, brown savages, which of course we know they are from ET. Guilt or innocence be buggered!

    Here’s a couple of representative samples from The Advertiser;”

    And he then proceeds to present some decidedly non-racist letters to the editor as evidence for this racism.

    If you claim non-racist comments are racist, then you are tarring everyone who makes non-racist comments as racist, unless you provide some objective means by which to distinguish the non-racist from the racist other than by your say-so.

  67. Richard
    May 29th, 2005 at 15:28 | #67

    The conviction would carry a lot more weight if it had been given by a judge who had got to the bit in the book that says: “Prosecution witnesses, particularly those who do not speak the same language as the accused, occasionally lie or are mistaken. You do have the option to acquit.”

  68. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 17:30 | #68

    Paul Norton: “It [the unmeritorious issue] is the idea that the Australian government should respond to adverse decisions against Australian nationals in the courts of neighbouring countries by dissing those countries’ judicial processes and doing “whatever it takesâ€? to beat the neighbouring government into submission, including forms of collective punishment such as denial of humanitarian aid to people in desperate need, commercial boycotts against people who desperately need our trade, and even military action (some comments on pro-Corby sites have gone this far).”

    It is a classic tool of the dishonest debater to deliberately misrepresent your opponent’s position as broader than it is, and then attack the broader stance. In this case, I don’t believe anyone is advocating without qualification that the “Australian government should respond to adverse decisions against Australian nationals in the courts of neighbouring countries”. For example, although the Australian government has (quite rightly in my opinion) received a lot of flak for helping place the Bali 9 in a position where they face the death penalty, few people are advocating the same kind of intervention in their case quite simply because they are pretty clearly guilty, and guilty of a far more serious crime (to a much greater extent than MJ, heroin really does screw up people’s lives).

    Corby’s case is very different. Particularly for those of us who have travelled to Bali, observa’s remark “There but for the grace of God go we all” sums it up nicely. I have no desire to hurt the Balinese, but I also have no intention of traveling there again until I can be: A) confident of a fair trial there; and B) confident that my baggage will not be tampered with.

    If it is the case that Corby would not have been convicted here (as a leading Perth QC has suggested), then I completely agree with those who suggest the Australian government should do more. It is Australian taxpayer dollars that fund our aid to Indonesia; the Australian taxpayers have every right to withhold that aid if the Indonesian justice system is found wanting. Why should we demand less of a foreign government than we demand of our own?

  69. Ros
    May 29th, 2005 at 18:27 | #69

    The perception of risk appears to be going haywire as a result of Schapelle Corby as well.
    250,000 plus Australians visit Bali annually as I read it. One is possibly the victim of an injustice. The proof for most who support her, the arrest of baggage handlers in Australia who transport drugs in Australia in MULES baggage. So the odds that an innocent party will have drugs placed in their luggage, by mistake when they are travelling overseas rather than domestically, because the smuggler has mistaken their luggage for a mules luggage, and stuff up getting it out again. And they will be grabbed by corrupt Indonesian custom officials and tried before a mad judge. I would reckon the odds of this happening to an Australian going to Bali are much lower than the odds of being killed by a hippopotamus in Kenya for example.
    How many die or are injured in Bali in vehicle accidents. 43 Americans have been killed in Australia between 2002 and 2004, so it is not exactly safe here either.
    And as has been pointed out innocents from abroad have been goaled here.
    Suddenly being frightened of flying seems quite rational.

  70. Ros
    May 29th, 2005 at 19:59 | #70

    Report from Mr percy a bit confusing.

    Mr Percy said he doubted she would have been found guilty if tried on the same charges in Australia
    and
    Mr Percy said he felt sorry for the former 27-year-old Gold Coast woman and believed if she had been charged in Australia with the same crime her punishment would have been far less.

  71. derrida derider
    May 29th, 2005 at 20:03 | #71

    Gee, anon, how did you get this issue to be a “left vs right” one? What the hell has “political correctness” got to do with it? It’s a fact of life that an Australian who happens not to be a young, attractive, female Caucasian would not get anything like the same sympathy – you don’t need to be an associate lecturer in Cultural Studies at a Dawkins uni to see that. And anyway there are probably plenty of right wingers who are muttering “shootings too good for drug runners”.

    Mate, not everything comes down to political ideology.

  72. harry clarke
    May 29th, 2005 at 20:43 | #72

    I think she probably is guilty (the evidence seems to stack up) but I have some doubt partly because I was not at the trial and partly just because there always is some doubt.

    I also oppose the legalisation of marijuana and other illicit drugs.

    But twenty years is a ridiculously severe sentence — though comparable to some zero-tolerance cocaine sentences in the US. How about a month in jail and a $10,000 file for this sort of crime? Reserve 20-life sentences for murders, rapists with the death penalty or life imprisonment for bombers who kill innocents in bars.

  73. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 21:17 | #73

    The comments here against the validity of the “Mob” response, and against any debate about the quality of the Indonesian justice system are squarely those of the politically correct. And political correctness is overwhelmingly associated with the left. So I’d say a lot of what we’re reading here does come down to political ideology.

    I don’t doubt that a lot of the sympathy for Corby comes from the fact that people can identify with her. But that doesn’t alter the issues.

    And blanket comparison between her case and the other Australians languishing in SE Asian jails ignores the fact that the majority of the other cases are for attempted importation of _heroin_ back into Australia – so no baggage tampering issues and clear profit motive, both of which are lacking in the Corby case.

  74. Hayek’s left foot
    May 29th, 2005 at 21:34 | #74

    Anon:

    “I also have no intention of traveling there again until I can be: A) confident of a fair trial there; and B) confident that my baggage will not be
    tampered with. ”

    So where are you going for your next hollidays ? USA? Europe? I dont think your chances there are much better (especially if you buy the baggage-handler story). Whats your reference point for measuring the riskiness of travelling to indonesia relative to another country? this is, as Kahneman et al. would tell you, a classic example of the ‘framing problem’ in risk perception, where one particular issue that has grabbed attention has heavily influenced your judgement. ( As an aside, Herbert Simon in “models of my life” asks why people travel in the first place, if it is to gain information theybd be better of at the library, if it is to relax and recuperate they’d be better off at home, from a purely risk minimzing perspective of course)

    As for the racism issue, i think there is a subtle difference between a) happening to sympathize with someone because they are more like you, b) and negatively discriminating against ppl who are not like you. According to most people a) seems ok and is probably inherent and b) is the real problem. But as the corby case shows, once a) happens, b) does not lie far off.

    Last (not so serious) comment: RE election impact: Anyone else notices a strange similarity between Corby and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-named?? Somethign about that face… 20 bucks says David Oldfield appear in Bali within the next 6 weeks (and is caught smuggling 3 kilos of red hair dye), and ye old one nation runs with the issue at the next election.

    Now that would be politics… anyone game?

  75. anon
    May 29th, 2005 at 22:19 | #75

    I’m also nervous about USA and Europe. I believe you’d have a much better chance in the judicial systems there; but until the issues with Aussie baggage handlers are resolved I am likely to vacation in Australia or go places where I can make do with just carry-on.

    BTW, I regularly travel to the US on business and I never check bags because I’ve had them lost too many times. Now we have another reason to avoid checking bags (and a renewed suspicion that those lost bags were never lost at all).

    As far as what you describe as the “framing problem” goes, I am usually the guy who’ll tell the frightened flyer that they have a greater chance of being decked head-on by a semi crossing the road than they have of going down in a flaming heap on a jet. But most ways to die by accident are pretty comparable (to me) so a rational calculation based on the probabilities is appropriate. However, regardless of the probability, what is the right cost to attach to wrongful imprisonment, or worse, wrongful execution?

    (BTW, to me this is the resolution of your “framing problem”: those who “irrationally” fear flying are not really irrational if you accept that for them the cost of dying in a plane accident is far greater than the cost of being hit by a truck (after all, falling knowingly to your death is potentially far more frightening)).

  76. Youie
    May 29th, 2005 at 23:20 | #76

    I take drugs regularly, as do 80% of my friends/acquaintances – dope, pills, coke, speed, dexies… Of all of us, no-one is a junkie, and most of us have successful (very, in some cases) careers. For better or worse, the not-so-underground is winning the war on drugs, despite the rhetoric/bullsh!t that’s often spoken. Having “fun” shouldn’t be a crime, and as far as we’re concerned, it’s not.

  77. Kristine D
    May 30th, 2005 at 05:25 | #77

    Hello from the US — I’ve been following this case closely from California. While I’m not surprised by the verdict, I am surprised by how many similar stories I’ve found about Australians who were bewildered by the discovery drugs in their baggage after retrieving them from the airport as they traveled to or from Indonesia. Thankfully they somehow escaped what Ms. Corby is enduring because they were not searched and hence the mysterious stow away drugs were not found. I think if they haven’t already, if would be very responsible of the Australian government to advise travelers headed to South East Asia to take only carry on luggage and never check any bags. Wouldn’t that be fun for airport officials to deal with?

  78. observa
    May 30th, 2005 at 11:12 | #78

    anon,
    As a resident of Adelaide I can only report the reaction gleaned from here. With the high profile Nemer and McGee legal outcomes(inadequate prosecution and ridiculously low penalties)recently, SA may be more conspicuously outraged at the Corby result than in your more civilised neck of the woods. As a nicotine addict, her penalty seems a bit excessive to me personally. As I said the planets all aligning on this case, means there’s likely to be a bit of outrage in it for all of us, irrespective of how PC we are or not.

    Nevertheless, I think it will only take the MSM to cotton on to the fact that this young woman is unlikely to be the martyred saint a lot of outraged people now want her to be, for her to become yesterday’s news. How so? All it might take is a streetwalk test of the morally outraged by one of the current affairs mobs for the innocence factor to dissipate. All they’d need to do is acid test Joe Public with the same boogy board and flippers, one with an extra 4.1kg pack of vegetable matter and one without and ask the question- Do you really think an intelligent person wouldn’t have noticed the doubling of weight and thickness, the first time they handled it?

  79. anon
    May 30th, 2005 at 12:00 | #79

    observa,

    I’m getting weary [looking in my baby's eyes - Bob Dylan]. Seriously, this will be my last post on this topic.

    I don’t know about your “shoulda been obvious” boogie board theory. Who picked it up off the carousel? Wasn’t she traveling with her brother – maybe he picked it up? Even if she did pick it up, it is usually a pretty stressful time collecting baggage and clearing customs – I don’t know if you’d necessarily notice anything amiss straight away (I’m usually not paying that much attention to my baggage – just mentally rehearsing my spiel in case customs try to get me to pay duty on my latest over-quota electronic goods import :)

    Anyway, I don’t claim she is innocent. I just don’t know, but it seems there is enough doubt.

  80. gordon
    May 30th, 2005 at 12:11 | #80

    I’m not reading 81 comments, but I did do a “find text” search for Don Pacifico. Not found. Yet that old case, which led Palmerston to address the H. of C. for 5 hours about the right of British subjects to expect that “…a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong” is very relevant.

    Don Pacifico had his house at Athens wrecked by an angry mob in about 1850, and sought compensation from the Greek government. He claimed that he was a British subject because born in Gibraltar, and even though a later historian (Trelvelyan) described him disdainfully as “a Maltese Jew swindling at Athens”, the British fleet blockaded Greece on his behalf.

    Currently there is an Australian held without trial in a prison camp in Cuba and now an Australian imprisoned for 20 years on dubious evidence by the most corrupt country on Earth. Who are we? Institutionally (if one can descend institutionally), we are the direct descendants of the British government on behalf of which Palmerston spoke all those years ago. The outrage against the Corby decision is the outrage of people who instinctively know this. It may not be logical in a postmodern world, but it is who we are. There are many – perhaps most of the voting population – who would be prepared to support vigorous action against Indonesia (and the USA) for the return of our nationals who suffer (by our standards) “injustice and wrong”.

    Finally, I suggest it is only a country which is prepared to defend its nationals who get into scrapes abroad that is likely to abandon the imprisonment without charge of foreigners who arrive here. I don’t think we can have it both ways, and I would much prefer to see a more Palmerstonian attitude than a continued drift towards a South American one.

  81. Dave Ricardo
    May 30th, 2005 at 12:15 | #81

    Was Corby guilty as charged or stiched up? I have no idea.

    I hope the reason John Howard is providing 2 QCs available for her defence, gratis, is because he has got some information the rest of us haven’t that a miscarriage of justice has been carried out.

    I hope the reason isn’t because Corby is white, has blonde hair and big tits and hence has elicited a huge amount of sympathy in punter land.

    Here’s a question for all of you non-drug smugglers. Suppose you picked up your boogie board bag in Bali and found it suspiciously heavy. You open it up and find a big bag of drugs. Would you go to the nearest Indonesian policeman or customs official and say “look what I found?”. If you did, you’d better hope they don’t think you’re a drug smuggler who has lost his nerve and is making up a story to get out of a sticky situation.

  82. gordon
    May 30th, 2005 at 12:36 | #82

    Correction: Palmerston was of course addressing the H. of L., not the H. of C.

  83. observa
    May 30th, 2005 at 14:34 | #83

    â€?…a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrongâ€?

    Egads Gordon, as if joining COWs to bring freedom, democracy and rule of law to a bunch of heathens is not hard enough these days, you bring up unilaterally whacking fuzzy wuzzys to preserve the honour of British maidens. Can I suggest a quiet whiskey and soda while you you think about the consequences for Empire here? What about a quick whip around at the Club to fund a feasibility study by those Zionist chaps, as to the prospects of a quiet rescue mission for our damsel in distress? Could even get the Ghurkas involved.

  84. Katz
    May 30th, 2005 at 14:48 | #84

    I expect an upright Anglo-Saxon refusal to besmirch our Aussie Flag beach towels with filthy Kuta sand and a righteous determination to accept massages only above the waist will express our outrage when appeals to British justice fail.

  85. Longdrop
    May 30th, 2005 at 15:28 | #85

    Interesting thread. I don’t know whether Corby is innocent or guilty but I can say that there is nothing wrong with Balinese ganja, certainly not that you’d want to pay 10 times more for Oz weed. Second I wish people would stop referring to marijuana as a narcotic, I know the Indonesians do but this is just a stupidity. Thirdly the judge has never acquitted anyone basically because this is an appeal, Corby had already been found guilty by the investigating magistrate and – finally why has no-one offered to stitch up the three judges with a few bags of weed in their briefcases? Reckon that would lead to a round of law reform pretty quick.

  86. James Farrell
    May 30th, 2005 at 15:46 | #86

    If you were a little more attentive, Dave, you would know that if this had happened to Observa Jr., ‘he would have incredulously opened it there and then in front of his mates. His and their shock at the contents would have been obvious to all gathered and they would have called the authorities.’

  87. observa
    May 30th, 2005 at 16:07 | #87

    “I have always voted Liberal but never again! ……….. how this govt can let a person stay one day in prison and be convicted by a kangaroo court is beyond most fair thinking Australians… Howard and your cronies, you will never live this one down..â€?

    I sense a deja vu opportunity here for the ALP Katz with this depth of feeling about. Bring the boys home from the ME Beazer, as we’ve got a pressing need for them…… ‘The Beazer Not the Appeaser’ election campaign.

  88. observa
    May 30th, 2005 at 16:24 | #88

    Yeah James, but not before he’d picked it up and gone ‘Hang on a bit, this looks like mine but it can’t be????? What the f…???’ No doubt MSM are going to start to go over Corby’s position with a fine tooth comb from here on. They’ll also interview her in prison again over some puzzling questions that need addressing.

  89. Ian Gould
    May 30th, 2005 at 17:36 | #89

    >>David, I’m not sure if this is meant in any way as a response to my query above, but I was hoping for something a little more enlightening. At face value, if the main difference between ‘Roman’ law and ours is that prosecuters have a lighter burden of poof, that would seem less fair. Is there some element of the ‘Roman’ system that compensates for this?>>

    Mu understanding is that the Roman Law countries apply a much tougher test at the arraignment stage than do Common Law countries.

    In theory at least, before you land in the dock in France or other Roman Law countries the prosecution has ALREADY proven the case on the balance of probabilities – a tougher test than the “prima facie” standard applied in Common Law countries – to the satisfaction of an investigatring magistrate.

  90. Katz
    May 30th, 2005 at 18:18 | #90

    Observa, something poetic here.

    “He who lives by the dog whistle shall die by the dog whistle.”

    It’ll be interesting to see whether this issue achieves traction and attains longevity as a political issue.

  91. Craig
    May 30th, 2005 at 18:30 | #91

    you don,t take rise to china i can,t believe the drugs were meant for bali i think they missed coming off in Aust.As for Schapelle i don,t know if she is guilty or not but the decision would have been the same in Aust.her intire defence woul have een inadmissible in Aust.Concerning the ruling same result in an Aust. court Possesion 9/10 of the law

  92. observa
    May 30th, 2005 at 19:50 | #92

    Yeah Katz, but with a name like yours I’d be more than a bit concerned about a dog-whistling competition to win over the swinging voter.

  93. Dogz
    May 30th, 2005 at 22:05 | #93

    nice one katz. im thinking Paulene H, wrapped in aussie flag beach towel, re-enacting the D-day landing on Bali’s beaches, sometime before the next qld election. for whatever is left of one nation, the Corby factor could easily swing 8-10% of the vote in QLD alone.

  94. May 30th, 2005 at 23:22 | #94

    The Big Tits Fallacy.

    - A certain physiognomy attracts greater attention than others.

    - This physiognomy is one of those more attractive.

    - Therefore the attention in this case is ill-considered.

    Like all fallacies it confuses all of us from time to time.

    Simply put, the BT Fallacy says that unless all cases are always treated equally I won’t entertain any of them.

    And I absolutely won’t entertain an issue where the mob is overstating its case. Especially not when I might offend my very good friend Indonesia. It was OK for Australia to criticise the very heart of the Indonesian national project of unifying its 13,000 islands, by participating in the mission to East Timor, but to criticise a single drugs case would be a bridge too far.

  95. James Farrell
    May 31st, 2005 at 13:19 | #95

    Thanks, Ian. That link furnished by Dave was handy too. Professor Lindsey was on Media Watch last night (where I got the distinct impression that Liz Jackson has been reading wbb’s blog).

    I found helpful information in Wikipadia under ‘Civil law’, ‘inquisitorial’, and ‘presumption of innocence’. In this last entry, scroll down to ‘ Differences between legal systems’.

    The upshot is it that it’s a complete furphy that civil law subscribes to ‘presumption of guilt’. I got that from my Modern History teacher, and I though I never quite believed it, I never got around to sorting it out either. I wonder if Chanel 9 journalists and Alan Jones had the same Modern History teacher.

    Anyway, it seems that the furphy arises, as Ian says, from the fact that the investigating magistrate makes the indictment on the balance of probabilities. But the actual trial is conducted by a different judge, in an adversarial manner, and there is a presumption of innocence.

  96. James Farrell
    May 31st, 2005 at 13:22 | #96

    Italics stuffed up and hyperlinks not working in the above. Looking forward to the return of Comment Preview. Meanwhile here’s the most useful link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence

  97. Guardian of the Faith
    May 31st, 2005 at 13:46 | #97

    This whole issue has ceased to be discussed rationally and much of what is said is the product of mass hysteria. What I find curious is that Australians are so upset, outraged and offended by the Corby case, but are perfectly willing to leave David Hicks to rot in a US prison for four years without charges even being laid. Whether or not Corby is innocent or quilty, she got a trial and one that was reasonably fair. The same can’t be said as regards David Hicks. And yet, the US has the capacity to locate whatever evidence it needs and run a long, comprehensive trial.

    I wonder, will the Australian government now provide a couple of QCs for David Hicks? I doubt it. It would be better politically for the Australian government to join the US in the torturer’s chamber.

    Hang on?! I’ve got a solution for the government in how it can deal with Corby without spending a cent… ‘Terrorist!’ One word is all it takes.

  98. May 31st, 2005 at 14:50 | #98

    i think that she is getting an unfair trial they should look at the trial again wheter or not she did it i dont feel like she should get a 20 year sentence at least let her come to australia where is her home i truly believe that she isnt gulity and i think that she should be left free because no true australian deserves to be punished for a crime they didnt comit. Australia along with thousnds of other countries helped whene the tsuanmis hit bali we gave them the most money over 4million i truly believe that bali should at least send her to austrlia dont be cowards bali court

  99. ……
    May 31st, 2005 at 14:53 | #99

    and as for the bali 9 they are gulity but they were tyricked dont kill tyhem along with shaepple send them to australia we look at so many ppl dying and murders why kill more think about the familys and think about this if you were offered money to do something not knowing what it is i think that you would say yes i know i would

  100. Guardian of the Faith
    May 31st, 2005 at 15:34 | #100

    Call the Indonesian President! Some anonymous poster on JQ’s website thinks, feels and believes that Schapelle’s trial was unfair and that she is innocent. The same anonymous poster knows that the Bali 9 are guilty. Sounds like a sound basis for a decision. Come on ……, put forward a rational and coherent argument.

    By the way, if the Indonesian judicial system is so corrupt, why didn’t someone pay the bribe necessary to free Corby? The judges apparently earn less than $7000pa each – ten years salary ought to have returned a not guilty verdict. And, it would be cheaper than hiring a couple of QCs.

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