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Australia Shocked At Guilty Verdict For Schapelle Corby

Schapelle Corby hears her verdict in a Bali courtroom as her interpreter looks on. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

An Indonesian court has found Schapelle Corby, 26 year-old Australian beauty school student on holiday to Bali, guilty of drug smuggling and has sentenced her to 20 years. Corby was convicted smuggling 9 pounds of marijuana into Bali in an unlocked boogie board bad, though she has no criminal history and claimed in her defense that her bag was tampered with illicitly by baggage handlers in Australia is a drug running scheme. The verdict was broadcast live in Australia, where Corby's case has transfixed the nation.

Schapelle Corby's story has received scant attention outside of Australia and Indonesia, and is too long and involved to summarize here. To get a flavor of the intense passions aroused by this life or death story of Indonesian justice click through the link section below.

Schapelle Corby Coverage

Ninemsn's Complete Schapelle Corby Coverage - Local news coverage
Wikipedia: Schapelle Corby - Lays out the complete timeline of events
GuruAnn Blog - Check the section of My Schapelle Posts on the right.
headhunder (Alan Singer) - Excellent back and forth on Aussie and Indonesian viewpoints.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Australia Shocked At Guilty Verdict For Schapelle Corby:

» JackLewis.net linked with Shapelle Corby found guilty

» Kerfuffles linked with Holiday Indonesia or Malaysia?

Comments (29)

Ugh. This makes me think o... (Below threshold)

Ugh. This makes me think of two movies where Americans are put in foreign hell-holes for drug running. The first, of course, is Midnight Express (Turkish prison). The second one was a movie ( I can't remember the name), where two American girls are put into a Thai prison. I have a feeling this story will also be made into a movie, and I hope it has a happy ending for her.

Not to be insensitve, becau... (Below threshold)

Not to be insensitve, because I realize the severity of this situation and I empathize with this woman -- but she was initially facing a death sentence as punishment for this crime, if found guilty (and now she has been).

So, by comparison a twenty year sentence seems to be almost lenient.

I don't think either are acceptable but the penalty's are what they are in Indonesia for drug smuggling...which is why someone probably used her in the first place.

I think her story seems plausible but who can ever prove such a thing ("someone else put that in my luggage because I didn't"). Bad times.

First the bombs in Bali...n... (Below threshold)

First the bombs in Bali...now this. I'm guessing that Australians are going to be a little more careful where they chose to vacation in the future.

Incredible. An Aussie from ... (Below threshold)

Incredible. An Aussie from my company who I met during a business trip last month told me about this case. It sounded awful then, and it's just as awful now that the ridiculous verdict is in.

From what I understand, the girl explicitly told Indonesian authorities they could inspect that bag. If she was a real smuggler, I cannot see that happening.

What a disaster for her and her family. I'm curious to see what thw Australian government does now. To Maggie's point, if this story is as bug in Australia as I think it is, I have to believe we'll see a serious drop in Aussie travel to Indonesia.

Not out of fear, but out of sheer anger.

In the meantime, I pray that the Australian cops bust that smuggling ring at the airport and get a confession from someone so that girl can come home.

I think it is sad, but I ad... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think it is sad, but I admit I don't believe her "it was a plant" defense.

Twenty years sounds like a lot for marijauna though, but from what I understand the drug laws in that part of Asia are very strict, and often bring a death sentence.

I think I'm more inclined t... (Below threshold)

I think I'm more inclined to agree with Alex. The fact she agreed to the inspection, coupled with the fact it was an unlocked bag, argues very strongly either that she is innocent, or too stupid to live.

I would point out that the ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I would point out that the inspector says she did not agree to the inspection.

"The customs officer, Gusti Nyoman Winata, gave a different version of the event. He said that he asked Corby to open her bag and she opened up an empty compartment of the bag. When he demanded a different compartment of the bag to be opened, she tried to prevent him from performing his duty. Corby's defence rejects these claims"

Although, there were also accusations before this involving the baggage handlers.

Apparantly the moral to this story is avoid letting anyone handle your baggage where you can't see them, and lock your baggage.

The real injustice is that ... (Below threshold)

The real injustice is that she got more time than the Bali bombers.

Judging from the high volum... (Below threshold)

Judging from the high volume of injustices in that part of the world I would automatically be skeptical of her guilt, not to mention the disproportion of punishments vs the crimes there. And if she objected to a search of her bag, it's not an admission of guilt. We have scads of people here objecting to searches before boarding planes and the overwhelming majority of them have nothing to hide. It's just the invasion of their property they object to. I, too, am with Alex on this. I hope it goads the Aussies into more aggressively finding the true perpetrators if she is in fact innocent.

Oh, and I meant to add. If... (Below threshold)

Oh, and I meant to add. If they went after their terrorists there with as much enthusiasm as they go after their drug smugglers, we'd all be better off.

Thanks for bringing this to... (Below threshold)

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Kevin - a hell of a story that we haven't heard about elswhere.

What a wierd situation this is; Director Mitch is right about it being like a movie. I don't know if Hollywood could write a better script...I mean, it's got everything, right down to the attractive girl and draconian officials.

This is completely conjecture on my part, but it would seem that laws of this nature, the laws that put up this young woman for the DEATH PENALTY, are enacted for a reason. I know that the only reason here in the United States for such harsh laws are for dealing with harsh criminals. Thus, it would be logical to conclude that Indonesia has a problem with armed and violent drugrunners. In the US, the many apparent difficulties with the prosecution's case would make it hard to prove, I think. For one (and this is based primarily on the Wiki entry, so take it as far as you trust) there are documented claims of similar inadvertent drug smuggling, through the AUS counsulate. Secondly, the lack of a criminal record - 4 kilos is a lot for a starting run.

20 years is a long time, especially for someone who is either a patsy, a foolish student, or a mule. US legal tradition would likely reject this, or at least end up with a hung jury, given a decent defense and good jury. However - this is all about INDONESIAN legal tradition. I wish that I knew more about the facts in this case; I have a horrid feeling that while there may be nothing techically wrong with this conviction, justice is not being done.

So, 20 years for drugs but ... (Below threshold)
Joe MacKay:

So, 20 years for drugs but if you blow up Bali you only do a year a two and get released!! Nice justice system there.

I absolutely agree that eve... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I absolutely agree that even if she was 100% guilty there is an injustice in that she is doing more time than the Bali bombers, even more so given that her sentence is a reduced one.

Why am I reminded if this w... (Below threshold)

Why am I reminded if this when asked at every airport I've been through in the last 10 plus years:

"Sir has anyone other than you handled your baggage."

Sad case, but many criminal... (Below threshold)

Sad case, but many criminal cases are sad, to some extent. The evidence hardly sounds ironclad, but I may well have convicted her myself on that evidence. It does seem from a quick perusal that she's getting disproportionate public support because she's pretty.

"I think it is sad, but I a... (Below threshold)

"I think it is sad, but I admit I don't believe her "it was a plant" defense."

Her bag was X-Rayed at the Australian airport when she boarded her flight and came up clean. She didn't have access to the bag again until she landed in Bali. With those facts on mind, what's your theory on when she put the marijuana into her bag?

exactly Clobbergirl sounds ... (Below threshold)

exactly Clobbergirl sounds like an inside job with the cargo handlers and how many exposes on various kinds of rings operating behind the scenes at the airport have we seen? between theft and drugs let alone potential terrorists.....

Buffalo Airport had a huge arrest last year of several cargo handlers that had stolen millions of dollars of merchandise and were storing it an airport hangar

I recall even recently it has been exposed that airport security in carge and baggage areas still is still not tightened up enough - if these cargo handlers can put drugs in your suitcase and steal a camera from it, then sure as heck can put a bomb in your suitcase going on a plane

now if this chick is guilty, and like any others, I have no sympathy for people who smuggle drugs in countries which make North American jails look like country clubs - we know a Canadian woman who tried to smuggle out cocaine for her new Domincan
Republic boyfriend, she a single mother of two young children and ended up in a DR jail for 3 years, that's like a Canadian jail for 25 years, she came home skin and bones and her parents had to fly down to DR to pick up and raise her kids in the meantime.....

what is the standard of proof in Indonesia, some countries have reverse onus, you have to prove yourself innocent rather than they prove you are guilty

once again, thank god we live in North America

I agree however wholehearte... (Below threshold)

I agree however wholeheartedly with the comments that how sad the Bali bombers got off so much easier

on the other hand, couldn't... (Below threshold)

on the other hand, couldn't this happen to any of us if in fact cargo handlers are using passengers luggage, even if you locked up your suitcase

after all, TSA has the power to open up your luggage do they not, what is a TSA lock by the way, when we put our luggage through Xray they asked as if we had TSA or regular locks, we had regular locks so we had to wait until the luggage was screened

do I take it then anyone with the TSA or anyone working in the airport has the ability to open your locked luggage if you have a TSA lock on your baggage

It's not too hard to find s... (Below threshold)
James B. Shearer:

It's not too hard to find similar cases in the US. For example www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v04/n003/a12.html?115

"Her bag was X-Rayed at the... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Her bag was X-Rayed at the Australian airport when she boarded her flight and came up clean. She didn't have access to the bag again until she landed in Bali. With those facts on mind, what's your theory on when she put the marijuana into her bag?"

I missed this, but then an x-ray doesn't neccessarily mean the drugs weren't there, it may mean they were missed or assumed to be something else. When reading an x-ray the x-ray is only as good as the person reading it. Her luggage wasn't hand searched so you can't say with 100% certainty that the drugs weren't there, when it was x-rayed.

Also, one aspect of this I don't get is, if the baggage handlers in Australia were loading the drugs into her luggage to get it to Indonesia, how did they expect the person on the other end to get the drugs? How does that work, since it is essentially blind.

It appears there's more to ... (Below threshold)

It appears there's more to Ms. Corby than meets the eye. Her family is what we might call "white trash". Her father was nailed for marijuana possession whilst a young man- of course he was innocent. Her half brother been nabbed for drug offenses. Ms Corby has been married, quickly divorced and worked in bars in Tokyo -supposedly as an escort. One theory- she was acting as a mule for drugs between Brisbane and Sydney and the dope was supposed to be taken out of her luggage in Australia- but wasn't.

Too bad for Corby but damn ... (Below threshold)

Too bad for Corby but damn her interpreter is smokin' hot (according to CNN, the girl in the background is her interpreter).

Seriously though, how the heck do you not notice an extra 9 lbs in your bag?

Anybody who's travelled in ... (Below threshold)

Anybody who's travelled in that part of the world should know that the drug trade is controlled by the military and the police. Blah, blah, blah, business as usual.

Another thing to consider i... (Below threshold)

Another thing to consider is why would anyone be bringing 9 lbs. of marijuana INTO Indonesia FROM Australia...seems that there are other means for Indonesians needing grass to obtain it some easier and less trackable means than by having a woman fly into the country with it in her luggage, her very publicaly inspected luggage.

I agree that she appears to be either a mule or very dimwitted (I think, actually, that the two terms are mutually interchangeable). I also didn't realize until reading more that she'd made previous jaunts on her trips before arriving in Indonesia...that it seems likely she may have been transporting within Australia and realized some problem with the first stop (so continued on with her dope in the bag) and hoped to squeak past Indonesian inspections...(it's possible)...or didn't realize she was still carrying the grass (also possible)..

But, it seems just very, very stupid that anyone would willfully, intentionally fly into Indonesia with NINE POUNDS OF DOPE in luggage and then be surprised they'd been penalized, and that they woulnd't know ahead of time about Indonesia's severe (death penalty for most) response to captured drug smugglers.

MAYBE she was told prior to arriving that she'd be covered or that there was someone in Indonesia handling the bags that would give her a free pass, and that person or those persons failed to be handy on arrival, or refused or similar.

Who can tell but it does seem that she was entirely captured...a lot of questionable circumstances that I don't read were covered in any trial (maybe they were, I just haven't read about them)...but there's a lot of suspicious circumstance to her behavior, just saying.

Is anyone sure that her luggage was unlocked? I mean, was that definitively established?

I am not sure how it is wor... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I am not sure how it is worth the effort for smugglers to hide dope in somebody's bag to go to another country, although maybe the baggage handler on the other end missed it.

I am not convinced she wasn't a mule for the stuff.

"Another thing to consider is why would anyone be bringing 9 lbs. of marijuana INTO Indonesia FROM Australia..."

Not sure, although there is supposedly a pretty much zero tolerance policy because of drug problems there (not sure if they have problems with the demand or supply side or both), so maybe there is a high demand for it, and if there is a high demand it is worth it to mule it in.

But then no matter what countries you are talking about, I am not sure why somebody volunteers to mule anyway, they generally get caught eventually.

hmmm it does seem odd smugg... (Below threshold)

hmmm it does seem odd smuggling drugs from Oz to Indonesia, surely it would be the other way around

regarding how it was supposed to work,

first of all, for all we know the drugs were put in her luggage IN INDONESIA - let's assume she was completely innocent in this matter, and in any event, there are international smuggling rings operating out of several airports, likely a big Asian ring which includes Australia etc, don't you worry about that, and yes in Indonesia likely run by the police and/or military

so assuming she was innocent, either an Indonesia person put it in her bag thinking it would get through customs, someone panicked and put it into her bag, to save themselves or if it was put into her bag in Australia, the Indonesia connection as in Indonesian cargo handler that was supposed to scoop it up, either made a mistake or panicked as well or the intention was to pick up the pot later - presumably they targetted this girl and knew which hotel she was going to....you know how it is, there are always some custom officers on the take in just about every airport, in on the deal, if something happened to any of them, or the higher ups were breathing down their necks, then the jig was up and they'll of course sacrifice the girl.

Speaking of stupidity, I do... (Below threshold)

Speaking of stupidity, I do remember in 1976 when we went on a high school trip to Rome, all these idiots were smoking pot on the plane ride over - now presumably they were all smart enough to smoke it all on the flight over because at that time Rome was in high security alert because of their homegrown terrorists - there were guys with machine guns and sniffer dogs all over the airport, every piece of luggage was scrutinized, and man, wouldn't have been worth ruining a week trip to Italy for a few ounces of pot you could have bought in Italy quite easily.

“somebody at a barbeque sai... (Below threshold)

“somebody at a barbeque said the best thing to do was to send in some renegade sas boys in to get her out. its probably not the best thing to do politically but it seemed the spirit of the times and i thought it would make a good song. here is that story.”







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