27 May 2009

Schapelle Corby and Depression...

It has been a while since I found time to update on the Schapelle Corby (photo) saga. It is a saga because the media keeps it in the news and people, like me, are still reading about the comings and goings of an Australian languishing in an Indonesian prison.

Corby is coming up to her fourth year in prison. However, it seems pretty clear that prison is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally and mentally. Corby now has a history of depression. She was hospitalized for it last year and has recently been hospitalized again. It is sad in many ways because if she had committed the same crime in Australia she probably would have received a much shorter prison term. Maybe she might not have been jailed at all.

The rumours are that she is struggling and that she is not taking her medication. This only exacerbates the problems she is suffering from. The results are apparently difficulty in sleeping and generally not looking after herself. Apparently, she is also having real difficulty in communicating with others and there is a general inability to answer questions or stay focused for any length of time. It has been reported that she is taking comfort in a doll.

A hospital stay is just what the doctor ordered. However, it is clearly a case that Corby would be better served with a long-term treatment regime in a psychiatric facility where she can be properly monitored and treated. This, though, seems unlikely. Unfortunately, if the authorities do not come to the party and allow Corby to get specialized and proper treatment then this is going to become a vicious circle of periodic hospital treatments for depression.

That said, prison time has never been designed as a holiday. It is tough and as such people handle it in different ways and some people do not handle it well.

On the legal front, Corby has hired a new lawyer. The lawyer, Iskandar Nawing, has been given a mandate of getting Corby out of jail. Nawing has admitted that there is no new evidence in the case so there is no likelihood that the case will be reopened. On this front it would seem that the 16 years that remain, minus any remissions, will be served.

However, Corby has until now rejected all overtures with respect to seeking clemency from the Indonesian president. A clemency request requires Corby to admit guilt. It would be an interesting call to admit guilt at this stage. It seems very unlikely that the president would be receptive to the idea of granting clemency and releasing Corby. Even if one assumes that the incumbent is re-elected it still seems highly unlikely that he would look favourably on a clemency request.

Indonesia has always taken a hard stance on drugs and drug smuggling. To grant Corby clemency after four years of a twenty year sentence just does not seem likely. Nevertheless, the ongoing serious depression she is suffering, the paranoia, and a psychological report that states she is a danger to herself might be a tick in the column for clemency.

When it is all said and done I think there are more ticks in the rejection of clemency column than there are in the clemency column.


Neville said...

Hi Rob
What Corby needs is as you suggest, a good time in psychiatric care. However, if she goes back to prison, then it will all start over again. The reason for her depression is simple, she is not guilty of the crime and here is why.
(1) She asked via the Aus Consul in Bali for a sample to be tested by the AFP to determine where it was grown. The Bali police refused the request. If they had found traces of her DNA she would have been cooked. What made them think it was from Australia? Are they sure it was not from Bolivia?
(2) Corby asked for the bag to be fingerprinted and they refused.
(3) Corby asked for her luggage to be weighed to compare with the checkin weight. Again this request was refused.
Any one of the above would prove/disprove her claim of innocence, yet all requests were refused. They even publicly destroyed the evidence before her final appeal. I wonder why?

Anyway, 4 years in that hellhole for weed is more than enough. They have proved their point. It is time she was sent home.
Enough is enough!

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by and leaving a detailed comment.

All interesting questions / points on why you think she is not guilty.

The allegation was not that she packed the wacky weed herself but was transporting it for someone else.

So, in that sense the fingerprinting issue might have had some legs but it would not have been a winning argument by itself. Simply people wipe down crime scenes all the time.

The luggage weight might have been an interesting one in order to prove the claim that it was the baggage handlers in Australia that placed it in the boogie board bag.

I am sure that Schapelle Corby will be an issue that keeps some Australians interested in the years to come until there is some final resolution to the whole affair.

Elyani said...

When I flipped one channel to another two weeks ago, I stumbled upon a documentary show called 'The Queen of Ganja' ... It made me thinking if there is any other place in the world that used the word 'ganja' for drugs other than in Indonesia. Yes, the show is about Corby Schappele...her story, her trials, I didn't really follow it to the end...but I feel sorry for her and the long ordeals that she has to go through.

Brett said...

Is she STILL getting media coverage? Crikey! I have no sympathy for her. Half the world is on prozac!

lawgaff said...

Faecesbook? why hasnt anyone else thought of this?/

Am I slipping? Or is it just my disgust after witnessing the plight of Aboriginals in town camps around Alice Springs on TV last night?

Rob Baiton said...


Some feel sorry for her and some think it is about time she sucked it up and did the time for the crime she committed.

I guess, my post was really just highlighting that she is doing it tough and prison is supposed to be tough.

I have not seen the film. Although, I have read a lot about it. So, I will reserve my comments on the film until sometime later and after I have watched it.


Yeah, she is.

Her family seems pretty dedicated in terms of keeping the issue alive. There was an interesting piece in today's Daily Telegraph about what should happen to her now.

The argument being as much a criticism of Rudd and the Labor government's handling of the issue since they have been in power. It also wonders out loud whether a suicide attempt might be the spur to get the Australian government moving on this.

The belief being that Indonesia would not want the public relations nightmare that a suicide attempt would bring (gotta say that I am not convinced that the Indonesian government would be all that concerned about the PR because on a local level there is still plenty of support for harsh penalties on drug smugglers).

The reality is that she is depressed, it is an illness that can be medicated/treated, she can contribute to her own well-being or her own worsening depression, and she can seek presidential clemency.


I guess I am slipping! Relevance to this post?

lawgulf said...

you should know me - not too coherent. I was trying to make a succinct remark on Facebook - I thought it was funny but also rather caustic too. Then I wondered where the causticism was coming from - the show (you might have missed it) - Jim Middleton last night on the fed land grab of the areas around Alice - the shitty disgusting conditions were palpable,,,,\

It has nothing to do with Corby - it is however about futility. I have never seen conditions like I saw in Alice in Indonesia.

Rob Baiton said...


Ahhh...now I am with you.

Yes, caustic indeed. Also funny, as there is plenty of crap on Facebook (heaven knows I am forever posting useless crap there -- like what I am doing at any single point during the day).

News Hour? Gotta say I did not watch it. If I am watching TV here, then it is usually TV1 and Law & Order classics.

The government is doing plenty of land grabbing at the moment. The Queensland government is seeking to list Cape York Peninsula as a World Heritage Site. The Federal Government seems to be backing the plan.

Noel Pearson is obviously a little upset at this and there was a good piece in the paper the other day which I read online (so probably The SMH).

The Rudd government went to the extent of apologizing for the stolen generations and are now complicit in a grubby land grab that is only going to serve to further disenfranchise indigenous Australians from making a living from their traditional lands. This is quite contrary to the policy platform that the Rudd government has been advocating.

Thus endeth the rant :D

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