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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. Afuria
    August 2nd, 2005 at 11:58 | #1

    why dont you all quit your bitching and get a life instead of sitting on your computer all day you bunch of nerds especially anon

  2. October 21st, 2005 at 12:04 | #2

    Corby well, who really knows, maybe she did …maybe she did’nt….

    Bali 9….. Herion……. on them…….I feel no sympathy for their future,
    they knew the risk, the Corby case so fresh at that time, if you look at my website in memory of my daughter, who in a moment of weakness and depression took some herion and had taken ecstacy the evening before….I now have memories only…her 2 little boys now 8 and 6 will never know their mother, I know if the demand was not there, there would be no need to smuggle any drugs anywhere. (Supply meets demand) I am sure there are many other parents that share my feelings, that have lost their loved ones through herion or other drugs.
    Although I feel no sympathy for the Bali 9..I do however feel for their families, no matter what, you still love your children even if you don’t like or approve of what they do or say.
    Please visit my site… (you will see what a beautiful life drugs have devoured)
    http://www.lostangel.zoomshare.com

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