Corby S, Silk Air & me

Travel Forums Asia Corby S, Silk Air & me

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31. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting SamSalmon

End of Story.

Not really the end of the story, since both the prosecution and the defense have either already submitted appeals or are planning to do so.

Corby Appeal

32. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting SamSalmon

You're a week behind the news here-Guilty as charged-20 years behind bars.
End of Story.

Indeed, as Travel100 rightly pointed out, the story is far from over. This case will be taken a lot further in the courts yet.

33. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Not to belabour the point but under Indonesian law possesion equals guilt in drug cases.
This something Australians have trouble understanding for some reason.
Lawyers everywhere love appeals but the fact is that the judges involved have convicted 100% of the defendants appearing before them in past drug cases.
She may receive more time but there is no hope none that her conviction will be overturned.

34. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Glad to have such an expert in Indonesian law on our site. Just as knowledgable as you are about her family's history?

Not to labour the point, but surely if something is in your boogie board and you didn't put it there, you could argue it isn't 'legally' in your posession.

35. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Peter

Not to labour the point, but surely if something is in your boogie board and you didn't put it there, you could argue it isn't 'legally' in your posession.

Her Lawyers argued in court-they failed to prove that it wasn't hers.
Now they can argue again but will fail-successful appeals against drug charges in Indonesia are rare as pope sh*t.
What they will achieve is the draining of someone's bank account.
Have a look @ this C&P from a NZ papaer for some antipodean perspective.

Noted former New Zealand criminal lawyer, Michael Guest, wrote the following in the Otago Daily Times this week (note Australia and New Zealand have similar justice systems):

WOULD SCHAPELLE Corby have been convicted in New Zealand court? If so, would she have been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment? I think the answer to the first question is “most likely” and the answer to the second question is “definitely not”.
The media on this side of the Tasman has concentrated more on the emotional angles of the case and much less on an objective assessment of the facts. I hope the outspoken Australian talkback host, Derryn Hinch, was wrong when he crudely remarked “Corby has been getting all this attention because she is young, white, pretty and has big boobs”. So let’s look at what would likely have happened in New Zealand.
Firstly, Corby would have been on bail from the start. The drug was only cannabis, although there was a lot of it. The maximum penalty in New Zealand is eight years imprisonment. In Indonesia, the death penalty can be imposed.
Secondly, in New Zealand she would have been tried before a jury, not three Judges.
Thirdly, if convicted in New Zealand, Corby would have received a sentence of imprisonment of something between four and six years and would serve between one third and a half of that sentence. Twenty years is simply ridiculous by New Zealand standards.
But, the big question, would she have been found guilty? I think the answer is probably yes.
A plastic sack filled with 4.1kg of marijuana was found in Corby’s unlocked body board bag at Bali’s airport last October. She admitted she owned the bag, as well as the body board and the flippers. Indonesian Customs officers and police stationed at the airport testified that she was reluctant to open the bag, even trying to prevent a customs officer opening it.
Corby’s lawyers argued the bag was unlocked so the cannabis could have been slipped into it anywhere between Brisbane and Bali. Supporters of Corby have gone into spin mode.
In New Zealand, the defence could only have succeeded if the jury disbelieved four customs officers as well as accepting the reasonable possibility of a “plant” by baggage handlers.
But on the face of it, the evidence against her was very strong. This is not to say that a street-fighting, formidable advocate like our own Judith Ablett-Kerr QC could not have made a huge meal out of the failure to fingerprint the bags or compare the all-up weight at both ends of the journey.
But evidence was given that Corby acted strangely and fudged her answers upon being challenged by customs offices in Bali and it is those matters which would have been given major weight by any firstly, he didn’t ask me to open the bag. He just asked whose bag it was,” she told the court. “I opened the bag and I don’t remember saying anything or hitting anyone’s hand. I opened the bag and then I closed it.” jury in New Zealand. It’s what you say and do at the time you are caught that, in all common sense, will be given weight.
To be sure, juries are instructed by judges that accused people sometimes tell lies for reasons quite distinct from whether they are guilty or not. But what did Corby do and say?
Customs official Gusti Winata told the Denpasar District Court that he asked Corby to open the blue bag, but she unzipped only a front pocket. He then opened the main zip himself. He then said in evidence: “When I opened it a bit, she said ‘no’. I asked ‘why?’, and she said ‘I have some,’ and looked confused”.
He said she blocked his hand to stop him opening the main zip. Finally the bag was opened, and officials saw a pillow-case sized clear plastic zip-lock bag filled with 4.1kg of marijuana heads.
Winata said: “I asked the suspect what was in the plastic bags. She said it was marijuana I asked her ‘how do you know?’ She said ‘I smelled it when you opened the bag’”.
A second customs officer, Komang Gelgel, said Corby had told Winata she owned the marijuana. “She said ‘this is mine. I own it’,” Gelgel said, a claim Corby strongly denied.
I accept this appears a bit contrived. It’s akin to a Cockney villain saying “It’s a fair cop, guv. You’ve got me bang to rights”.
But Gelgel and two police officers agreed with Winata’s version of events, including Corby’s attempt to prevent him opening the main zip. It was damning testimony from four Indonesian officials, all apparently objective witnesses.
Corby flatly denied she had tried to avoid opening the main zip of the body board bag. “Well,
She told the court she didn’t know what was in the bag, even after the zip was opened. “I was scared. I didn’t know what it was,” she said. “Then when I closed my boogie board bag up, a strong smell came out. I was very scared, I didn’t know what was going on.
“I open it. I lift it up and I’m surprised. There’s a plastic bag and half-open, and I’m like ‘ohhh!’ And I close it up, I can smell it,” she told the court. “I never, at any stage, stated that that marijuana belongs to me; never, ever, have I stated that.”
In closing submissions, Corby’s lawyers argued that she had said, in a startled fashion, “there is something”, rather than “I have some” to Winata, the first time this version of events was related.
Regarding her failure to notice the bag’s extra weight, Corby told the court the bag’s handle had somehow been broken en route to Bali, meaning she had to drag it.
The defence pointed out the examination of Corby’s bag and the initial interrogation was not video or audio recorded by police. They complained the plastic sacks were not examined for fingerprints.
Fingerprinting is not a common procedure in Indonesia, where the authorities are hardpressed to deal with rising crime. Fingerprinting the plastic sack of marijuana was unnecessary prosecutor Ni Wayan Sinaryati told the court.
“In this case, the criminal perpetrator was caught redhanded by the customs officers at the airport,” he said.
The defence called John Ford, flown to Bali by the Australian Government to give evidence. But his testimony was pointless. Accused of rape, Ford told the Bali court how he overheard two men in prison in Australia discussing a drug shipment gone wrong. He lied to the court about seeking a remission in Australia and refused to name the alleged ringleader. He admitted that most of what he said was “opinion”.
Ford’s testimony would not have been admitted by a New Zealand court. Corby, he said, was the unwitting scapegoat, but he declined to name the real criminal. A useless defence witness.
Scott Speed, another defence witness and a Qantas baggage handler at Brisbane airport, told the court it was possible to put drugs into bags after they had been checked in. His evidence obviously did not relate directly to Corby’s circumstances. This “possibility” has some weight but does not establish innocence on its own.
Then another defence witness, criminologist Paul Wilson, told the court Corby did not fit the profile of a drug courier, based on his only interview with her, conducted that morning. Dream on. Such evidence has no probative value.
After the closing addresses had been made, Corby’s legal team presented the judges with a bundle of letters, character references, newspaper articles, a court statement of facts and a report from the Australian Government concerning an airport-linked cocaine-smuggling ring, a gang that was operating on the date she flew to Bali. Yet the cocaine case’s evidential strength was weak because there was yet to be a trial, let alone a conviction. This material also included transcripts of Australian and Indonesian TV programmes, with other allegations of drug smuggling in Australian airports.
Yet none of it was sworn evidence, and none could it be tested in court. The court reluctantly accepted it as an “attachment” to the defence case, but it is unlikely it would have even been admitted as evidence in New Zealand. The same applies also to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade letter, which comprised allegations of baggage-handler corruption, not yet tested or proven, by a person who lacked personal knowledge and which again did not tie directly to Corby.
So in the final analysis, courts must make their decision solely on the evidence before them. Chief Judge Lenten Serrate and his colleagues had precious little reasonable doubt on which to enter a not guilty verdict. A reasonable doubt is not a fanciful doubt or speculative doubt. It cannot be conjured out of the air in order to avoid performing an unpleasant duty. Sheer politics might influence the ultimate appeal process and Corby might walk free, but I think she would have been convicted in New Zealand.

36. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Obviously Indonesia is one of those countries that you don't want to be caught with drugs! I think I read that one of Corby's judges had convicted in 500 of 500 drug-related cases brought before fim. So basically she pretty much was doomed form the minute she was caught (whether guilty or innocent).

I think what causes the most media attention and the outcry against the outcome in her case, is the severity of the sentence. The fact that a 27 year old girl could have received a DEATH sentence, LIFE in an Indonesian prison, or even the 20 years that she recived, for this marijuana offence, is almost inconceivable to many people in the West. That her life could be OVER. If she had been convicted and recieved a 5 year sentence, where she'd get out in 2-3 years, then this same case would not have received the same media attention. But to face the end of your like over something like this is hard to comprehend for many of us.

And finally, whether it occured in this case or not, I think another aspect of this case that causes an emotional response in many people, is the fact that it COULD have been planted in her bag by someone else, and the fact that if that occured, then it could happen to anyone. Then put the 2 together and you have a situation where an innocent personm going on vacation, could end up in jail for the rest of their life.

37. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quite right Sam, I am well aware of the perspectives pointed out in that article and for those reasons am not willing to state that she is innocent, though personally I don't think she is guilty.

But that's not for me to decide based on what I hear in the media; it is for the courts to decide. And even when they do decide, it doesn't mean they are right. Lacking any better way of deciding someone's real guilt, such a procedure will have to do though. But it's certainly not the 'end of the story' as you claimed in an earlier post. Appeals will be made, succesful or not. It's not over till it's over.

38. Posted by Peter (Admin 6611 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Travel100

I think what causes the most media attention and the outcry against the outcome in her case, is the severity of the sentence

Quite right! It is not what most westerners would consider reasonable.

Mind you, I wish more Australians would also consider undefined prison terms for being an asylum seeker as more severe than it needs to be. There are people who have been in detention in Australia for over 6 years now, children included. Is it any surprise that "Between 60 to 80 per cent of people currently being held in immigration detained by the Government are believed to be suffering from mental illnesses."

And yet, it seems people think it's fair that whole families should be treated this way - that disgusts me, particularly when you consider the desperation that drove most of the asylum seekers to come here in the first place.

More on this at Refugee Action