I'll preface this by saying I think Schapelle Corby is either innocent or the best actress in history. I know it's only an opinion based on what I've seen and heard in various media, but my gut tells me she's innocent.
Corby takes comfort from judge's comment. 22/04/2005. ABC News Online / Schapelle Corby's world falls apart - World - www.smh.com.au. Quotes from the SHM article throw some light onto the bizarre workings of the Indonesian court:
Testimony from her key witness, Victorian prisoner John Patrick Ford, that a convicted drug dealer was the owner of the marijuana, was rejected.
'Looking at his background as a prisoner, the reason for him to testify before an Indonesian court is to taste freedom,' the prosecutors said.
It really does seem that opinion is the primary factor in the prosecution's attack. They don't think a prisoner would testify on Corby's behalf for no personal gain, so they discount the testimony. The court doesn't seem to have any objection to this attitude either. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Australian psyche; the ingrained sense of justice that is fundamental to Australia's culture. I'm not saying they should be expected to understand Australians per se, but if it's all going to come down to opinion perhaps they need to actually meet some Aussies.
Unfortunately for Corby, the only real evidence that the court has accepted is the presence of the drugs in her bag. Obviously that's the most damning evidence, particularly when the bag weights at the airports weren't kept; so she can't prove that she didn't pack the drugs (nor can it be proved that the bag weights were the same).
In deciding on his sentence request, Mr Wiswantanu said he took into account that 'the defendant is polite and has never been convicted'. But the court should realise 'the defendant has ruined the image of Bali as a tourist destination and created the image that Bali is a haven for narcotics distribution, ruined the mentality of youngsters'.
'The 4.2 kilograms of marijuana is a great danger for the nation and this is categorised as a transnational crime and the defendant has not confessed to her actions.'
I would imagine she has not confessed because she wanted to go surfing in Bali and packed a boogie board, not the marijuana that was found later. I find it staggering the way the prosecution brings up things like whether the defendant is polite, then tells the court that she has singlehandedly ruined the image of Bali as a tourist destination. Neither point is evidence of anything.
I can't help thinking the nightclub bombing may have had some small impact on Bali's attractiveness as a holiday destination. Then there's the fact that it quite simply IS a drug trafficking gateway, no matter what they're implying to the contrary. Then there's the way you can find yourself a legal system that makes no sense to anyone used to Australia's system. Then to cap it off, there's the fact that the Australian Government really doesn't give two shits about its citizens getting into trouble (in fact, if they have evidence you're guilty they'll actively get you arrested in a country with the death sentence for drug trafficking, then help get you convicted).
The Australian and Indonesian Prime Ministers recently met (to a huge amount of fanfare in the Australian media). They discussed things like trade... but not Corby's case. In fact, nobody even asked John Howard if it came up. The media are a joke and the PM obviously doesn't want to get involved - too much like hard work I suppose.
So all Corby gets is Alexander Downer, our Foreign Embarrassment. What's he got on the issue?
The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, welcomed the prosecution decision not to seek the death penalty. Get the feeling that's his entire attention on the issue?
So. Why would any Australian want to go to Bali any more? I've had such glowing reports of how nice it is that I half imagined going one day. Now? Fuck it. There is absolutely nothing preventing a repeat of Corby's situation. Australian Airport security and baggage handling is a joke; the Australian Government won't help you if you get into trouble; and the legal system over there is even more insane than our own.
So... fuck going to Bali.