31 May 2009

Back in the Swing -- Another Schapelle Corby Update...

It has been a week of Schapelle Corby (photo courtesy of Bintoro S. Lukman) news. It is probably important for her and her family to keep her name in the news and regularly ensuring that the news is in your face. This strategy has inherent risks as the saturation could surely backfire in that there is still plenty of people who think she is guilty countering an equally large number that think she is innocent.

Personally, I think that she is guilty. The only conspiracy theory that I have entertained and continue to feel has some legs is that it was probably her half-brother who was the smuggler. I do not believe that the failure to fingerprint would prove anything further than the prosecution making an argument that she was smart enough to wipe down the bag before putting it in the boogie board bag. The idea that it was baggage handlers was just never proved.

Should she have been sentenced to 20 years in prison? That is the Indonesian law. It is high time Australians realized that you are not subject to Australian laws when you travel to foreign locales. Simply, if you get caught with drugs in Indonesia you are going to do time, this is particularly so for commercial quantities. Narcotics trafficking are likely to see you executed.

There was an interesting article in today's Sunday Telegraph making the case that it was time for Corby to be released and sent home. The underlying premise being that she would never have had to do 20 years for the same crime in Australia and that he current medical situation warrants it. The idea being that it is better for her to be sent home before she does harm to herself.

I touched on this idea in an earlier post. My take is that prison is not a holiday farm it is supposed to be tough and you are supposed to suffer from the consequences of losing your liberty and freedom to come and go as you please. This undoubtedly depresses people. In Australian prisons these individuals would generally get the necessary medical treatment. In an Indonesian prison Corby has been given the necessary medicines and been left to her own devices, this unfortunately includes not taking her medicines as prescribed.

If Corby does harm herself I am not sure that this is going to be something that harms the broader Indonesian / Australian relationship. It might cause some tension but whether it would be enough to unsettle relations long-term does not seem likely. There are probably bigger challenges to the Indonesian / Australian relationship in the form of Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (this probably deserves a post of its own -- but is a throw away line for now).

What does the future hold for Corby. The only real legal avenue in Indonesia sans any new evidence is an appeal for clemency from the president. This would require Corby to admit guilt. This is something she has not been prepared to do to date. This is a risky strategy too, as there is no guarantee that an admission of guilt will result in automatic clemency. And, given Indonesia's stance on drugs and drug smuggling it is unlikely that an admission of guilt is likely to sway the president. In any event, in an election cycle such as now and assuming there is no run-off for the presidency, it seems unlikely that any clemency appeal will be entertained until much later in the year.

The only other option on the horizon is a prisoner exchange deal. This deal would allow Australian prisoners sentenced to terms of imprisonment in Indonesia to serve out their time in an Australian prison. Nevertheless, the horizon in this instance is still some way off by the Australian governments admission. Despite news reports to suggest that progress is being made fails to recognize that the deal is far from done.

This is evidenced in a recent statement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, that the government would be willing to support a clemency request if Corby was to make one. Reading between the lines here would suggest that waiting for a prisoner exchange deal to be put into place is further away than a possible clemency grant.

The saga continues.


Neville said...

Hi Rob
The one conclusive piece of evidence not tested was the marijuana itself. Corby requested they give a sample to the AFP for testing via the Oz Consul in Bali. The request was refused. If the drugs had been grown in any country other than Australia , like Indonesia, then it would have been all over red rover for the prosecution.

Rob Baiton said...



However, even if it was grown in Argentina, or Mexico, or South Africa, or any other country in the world besides Australia still does not definitively prove that Schapelle Corby or someone in her group was carrying it.

It would only serve to prove that the wacky weed was not grown in Australia. It would be circumstantial evidence in Corby's favor but hardly conclusive. That said, it might have provided a bit of a boost to the theory that baggage handlers were involved and it was transported from a third country.

Yet, once again, I would not be convinced that it was all over red rover for the prosecution.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on what the various additional tests might have revealed and meant if they had ever been undertaken.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comments. They are appreciated.

boneman said...

oh, horse feathers!
That it is illegal is the entire problem! Moronically unflinching governments in motion and unstoppably running over it's citizens and those who visit!

We have the same danged thing here, too. It's called Texas. LIFE imprisonment for pot?
BARBARIC! And yet, true.
May anslinger's ass burn in hell till the world realizes they were suckers to a madman!

Brett said...

If only the Australian media were as balanced and reasonable! Nice piece of writing. I agree with you, I think she is probably guilty. I am constantly amused at the suggestion that Indonesia's laws are unreasonable. It's called sovereignty.

oigal said...

Hi Rob,

The key piece of advice you give, is Indonesia is not Australia different laws and different rules of evidence.
It amazes me that people think the Australian Government will ride in a save you when you tread on your **** in another country. Sorry in real world, you are disposable in the bigger picture. I know its kind of shock in the west where we are brought up to think we are special from the other 6 billion others.

Having said that, Channel nine and her advisors (???)should be jailed for stupidity (and putting people below ratings). As we all know if this case was not so high profile and some idiots had not refered to the judges as monkeys on prime time tv..then quietly something would have been worked out (just like in two other recent cases)..Is the concept of "face" so hard to grasp.

Anyway now she is in for long haul no way around it.

Nev, not sure you get how things work in Indonesia?

Rob Baiton said...


Indeed. The punishment was harsh, but then again these are the punishments proscribed in Indonesian law.

I guess if you don't want to do the time here in Indonesia then I guess it is best not to do the crime.


Thanks. I am not often fair or reasonable :D


Right at the outset I made similar comments about those advising Corby, including her own sister, should have pulled their collective heads in an got some local "assistance" on this.

Calling the judges monkeys was always going to shine the light nice and bright on the whole affair and ensure that Indonesian justice worked exactly how it was supposed to and as it was written.

Reminds me of Forrest Gump; "stupid is as stupid does!"