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May 27, 2005

Comments

Dylan Kissane

Hi Jeff. I am an Australian and I found your blog linked to from other Aussies discussing the Corby case. I thought I would add a comment because the way you have outlined the 'facts' don't correspond to the truth...even the version of the truth served up by Corby's woefully inadequate defence team.

Firstly, the drug ring that you say trafficked cocaine "along the same route Corby took to Bali on the SAME day Corby travelled" simply didn't. Even Corby supporters admit this. The drug ring you are talking about was involved in importing cocaine INTO Sydney airport from South America. Corby passed through Sydney airport and, yes, the baggage handlers involved in the ring were working there that day, but the route the drugs travelled was not the same as Corby’s, nor did the defence (or anyone) claim that the corrupt baggage handlers definitely did or even had opportunity to touch her bag.

Secondly, while it is widely reported that the judge involved had never found a single person innocent of drugs charges, it is important to bear in mind two other things when weighing the significance of this fact. First, judgements on these types of cases are made by three judges and can be settled by majority. Though it is unlikely to be the case (and I am not claiming that it is), it is possible that in every one of the cases he has tried he found for not-guilty and was outnumbered! No one has bothered yet to look at how many of the cases he has tried were majority verdicts and how many were unanimous. Secondly, it is not unusual in a nominally fair and non-corrupt judicial system such as Australia or the US to have judges with a near 100% record. Reports in recent days online and in the press in Australia have highlighted the record of Victorian (an Australian state) judges and their 97% guilty verdicts at trial. If the average is 97% guilty, reason would suggest that there would be a few judges up there at around 100%. Is there any reason to believe that this 100% record is evidence of a corrupt legal process in the state of Victoria?

As to the point of Corby having a full translation, it is pretty moot. The notion that because she didn’t understand every word of the proceedings that somehow the trial is invalid is opening up a classic slippery slope arena: how many people would love to appeal their sentences as harsh because their education, background, mental processes or mental illness left them unable to understand every word that was said? Her lawyers understood the whole thing, she chose her lawyers – and the Australian government offered her what are widely considered to be SUPERIOR lawyers and she (or her family or whoever) refused to take up the offer – and she never made any move to ask for more of a translation than she got. Hell, she even gave evidence to the court in English instead of Bahasa or Balinese! She wasn’t screaming out for a translator to help her with her statement then and it is a bit rich to deny the legitimacy of a trial because of it now.

You are right that the translator feed to the Australian media was cut off. But the reason the court asked it to be cut off was that no permission had been granted to anyone to ‘mike-up’ any court member for live broadcast. Imagine if a witness in a closed trial miked-up and then broadcast information from an American courtroom live onto TV without the permission of the judge. Wouldn’t this be contempt of court? It certainly would be in Australia. Either way, that the media was denied a live feed to a certain translator does not an unfair trial make. The TV stations could have spent the cash and got their own translator – even a better one if they could find one – and not relied on a tactic that would be cause or contempt in a court in their home country.

Your take on the ‘male inmate’ who gave evidence about the baggage handlers is inaccurate. That the court even listened to his evidence is proof of the fairness that was extended to Corby. In an Australian court he would not have been allowed to testify and the courts in the US would have made the same decision. The reason is that he did not give a first hand account of what he heard or saw, instead repeating hearsay something he overheard in prison. He didn’t see anyone put anything in the bag and didn’t speak to anyone who said that they did. He overheard some people talking about who they said had told them about some corrupt baggage handlers. Whatever you might think of the Indonesian system, the fact that they ruled out the evidence of the male inmate points to a more fair trial not a less fair one. To provide an example, if I claimed to have heard two people discussing another friend who had been told Miss Corby was guilty, should this evidence be rejected or upheld? It is clear to me, and clear to anyone who has even a rudimentary knowledge of the laws of evidence, that this is hearsay upon hearsay. It’s bad evidence and needed to be rejected.

Expert witnesses did say she didn’t fit the profile of a smuggler, but the judges DID take that into account. The final comments in the sentencing explained that the sentence was lessened from possible death to ‘only’ 20 years because she had absolutely no drug record and the court was satisfied that she had never been involved with drugs before in any way. This is not the exact same thing as rejecting the profile arguments of the experts, but it shows that the judges did take into account the individual person in front of them.
Sir, there may well be good reasons for boycotting Bali and, while I can’t think of any myself, I certainly don’t think the ones you have suggested an indicative of the unfair trial Corby received as providing any support for a boycott. I fear you have been misled by people who would like to claim your support for their cause. I hope that you will change your mind and, though I can’t say I support the Democratic stance on every issue, I do wish you – blogger to blogger – good luck with your campaign.

But please, Sir: rethink this call for a boycott.

AltOpt

Yes, it has happened before. Chika Honda.

Also, IMHO, insisting on a good translator should be the defence’s job.

It is also my opinion that the aim of any politician is to get elected. If this means supporting a popular cause, then so be it.

TalkLeft

Jeff, I'm with you. I don't think any American blog has written abut Schapelle as much as I have, and there's something rotten in the State of Bali on this case.

I've been in touch with one member of the family and s/he says it's worse than we even suspect. Don't send money, but please do write to Schapelle, sending messages of emotional support. They keep her going

There is no way of knowing if money donations will reach her, so for now, just send a note of encouragement.

Schapelle Corby
LPM Kerobokan
Jl. Tangkuban Perahu
Kerobokan, Denpasar 80117
Bali, INDONESIA

Michelle

This is why we Love the USA .... Thank You and God Bless !!!!

May you win for 06" you would be getting half of australians if you lived here !!!

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