Schapelle

The thing that has puzzled me about the seemingly endless Schapelle Corby drug case is why anyone would bother to smuggle gunja from Australia to Bali, given that I assumed prices are much higher in the former than the latter. But Miranda Devine, of all people, may have provided the answer: my assumption was wrong:

However, for those who question why anyone would take coals to Newcastle, ie, pot to Bali, a long-term Australian expat in Bali offers an explanation: “High quality hydroponic marijuana is worth its weight in gold in Bali,” he says. “A product bought wholesale in Australia for $4000 a kilogram becomes worth $US15,750 [$20,200]. Nice pay for a holiday in the sun.”

Of course, Miranda is hardly an authoritative source, but it would certainly explain why Corby’s defence team apparently didn’t make that point before the Bali court.

Nevertheless, Devine doesn’t reckon our Schapelle should be found guilty: “It’s hard to believe from the evidence presented that Corby would be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt in an Australian court. ” How does Devine reach that conclusion? Corby was caught red-handed with 4 kilos of gunja in her boogie board bag, which she (allegedly) initially refused to open when challenged by Customs at Denpasar airport. That would be sufficient evidence to sustain a possession charge in any part of Australia, in the absence of a cogent defence. And Corby hasn’t produced one.

Shouting hysterically that “it must have been planted” doesn’t amount to a defence in Australia any more than (one suspects) it does in Bali. And the third-hand hearsay evidence of the accused rapist who claimed to have inside info about an Australian smuggling-caper-gone-wrong, apart from being anything but credible, wouldn’t even have been admissible in an Australian court. Nor, according to Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, did it stack up on investigation.

If it had happened at an Australian airport instead of in someone else’s country, Corby certainly wouldn’t have faced the death penalty, nor probably even a terribly long prison sentence. But she would almost certainly have been convicted and served at least some time in prison. And now that she apparently doesn’t face the death penalty in Bali either, my sympathy for her histrionics is in fairly short supply.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Gilbert
Gilbert
2021 years ago

Ken, something that has yet to reach the papers, as far as I know, is that young Schapelle is extraordinarily well-traveled for a person of her tender years and income. A friend of mine was her travel agent. She tells me that Ms Corby had made at least 8 trips to Bali in the 18 months prior to her arrest. She must really love it there.

David Tiley
2021 years ago

I think she has family there. Sister?

As I keep banging on about, we did exactly the same thing to Chika Honda, a Japanese woman who naively came into Melbourne in 1992 with a suitcase she had been given where the lining turned out to be full of smack.

There are allegations her interpreters were incompetent etc etc. A significant newspaper campaign in Japan. A Japanese documentary. Activism from Australian supporters. An Australian documentary theatre piece.

She still did ten and a half years in a Victorian jail.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/11/18/1037599360343.html

Nabakov
Nabakov
2021 years ago

Our agronomic expertise is worth a 400% premium in foreign markets for one of the world’s most widely traded agricultural commodities?

This should be a matter for CSIRO not the AFP. Never mind scales of justice, what about balance of trade?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Nabs

Yes, the figures do sound a trifle high.

But another point I’d meant to cover in the post. How could Corby have failed to notice the extra weight and bulk in her boogie board bag when she picked it up from the baggage carousel? Even compressed, 4 kilos of gunja is a significant bulk, and its weight is much greater than a boogie board. It really isn’t all that credible that such an additional cargo in a soft-covered boogie board bag could have come as a complete surprise to her when stopped at Customs.

And even if her sister (or whoever) lived there, 8 trips in 18 months is an awful lot.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

And the stash was perfectly moulded to the boogie bag……I guess there could be baggage handlers with several sizes of stash ready to custom-fit a wide variety of receptacles, but…..

And to be frank, is it really a good look in these circumstances to have your defence PR’ed by an eternally sunnies-wearing Gold Coast mobile phone entrepreneur whose every OTT utterance is a “Pizza’ script line?

I was just wondering…..

Mindy
Mindy
2021 years ago

I wonder why, if she was drug smuggling before on her previous trips, she was never caught. It didn’t seem like there was much effort to hide the drugs, so why wasn’t she picked up before this? This story just keeps getting weirder. Truth really can be stranger than fiction.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Yeah, and I’ve got one old passport that reads like the veritable heroine trail.

There are a few anecdotes about Corby around the trap. If I believe one report, Corby was married and lived in Japan a while harvesting ‘green tea’, returning to Oz after her marriage broke down. That has been interpreted as ‘guilty as sin’ by some (!!??). But she won’t be the first Aussie woman who has married a Japanese and moved to a Japanese rural community – I can name one too.

Has any of it been raised as relevant by the prosecution? And maybe under the Indonesian justice system it’s as irrelevant as it may be under ours even though the two systems are different?

From what I understand, Indonesian judges make their judgements largely on prima facie evidence. A charge is as good as a declaration of guilt. No innocent until proven guilty here. And also, she hasn’t escaped the death penalty yet. If the judges find her guilty, they can still ignore the sentencing recommendations.

I reckon the Bali nine, while literally caught red handed and on tape are in a better position to get justice, simply because of AFP involvement and some basic procedures have been followed, and there is more chance of getting solid evidence etc. that will provide the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ (which also doesn’t seem to operate in Indonesia from what I understand anway but it may at least be more satisfactory for us).

This even if the young alleged ‘what happened to Corby happened to us’ mastermind seems to be permanently giving out ‘gifts’ to his fellow prisoners and jailers and increasingly painting himself in my eyes as predatory scum who deserves to go down for a long long time.

Yeah, howzat for a presumption of guilt.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

ken, I would like to question Miss Devine’s sources.
It is sometime since I looked at the demand for weed but the demand came from midlle to high income types which is why it comes wholesales to Australia from Bali not the reverse.

If Miss Devine’s figures are correct then why aren’t a lot of OZ farmers trying to get into this market?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“It is sometime since I looked at the demand for weed but the demand came from midlle to high income types which is why it comes wholesales to Australia from Bali not the reverse.”

Marijuana is pretty classless Homer. It’s as much at home in the young unemployed milieu as it is as a post-prandial at Vaucluse dinner parties. Hydroponic – the stuff at issue here – isn’t the dope that’s typically grown in Bali. You kind of need reliable and not inexpensive western infrastructure. But it tends to pack way more punch than the naturally-grown product.

There’s a sizeable expat community in Bali and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Oz farmers were trying to get into that market.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

thanks Geoff,
Last time I looked the icome elasicity for the product was quite reasonable which means you would have more demand for the product in Australia than from Expats in Bali without the transportation troubles involved.
It still doesn’t explain why the stuff was ‘going’ to Bali.

I would have thought you could grow it in Bali without much trouble or surveilance. Why take the gamble of importing it.

Mork
Mork
2021 years ago

Here’s what I don’t understand: if Corby did import it deliberately, then she had to get it from somewhere, right? If she were being tried in an Australian court and the only evidence were possession and the accused said “I have no idea how it got there”, then to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution would try to trace back where it came from … you know, try to track her movements for the couple of days before, interview acquantences to see whether they remembered her carrying a largish package, etc.

As far as I know, no such evidence has been introduced in Corby’s trial, right? Has the AFP done that type of investigation?

I don’t agree with Ken that you’d get a prosecution in an Australian court without having at least attempted that type of investigation. It would be too easy for the defense to say “these guys haven’t done their job and don’t have a clue.”

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“I would have thought you could grow it in Bali without much trouble or surveilance. Why take the gamble of importing it”

Big returns, basically.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

but you would make larger returns making it domestically without the ‘problems involved in importing it.

It makes little sense

James Farrell
James Farrell
2021 years ago

Mork

You’ve answered you question, haven’t you. Corby is being tried in Indonesia and prosecuted by the Indonesian police. The AFP is not investigating the matter, nor has any reason to do so.

Ken

I hadn’t read that Corby refused to open the bag – not that I’ve followed the case religiously. But it makes a big difference, as you say. Where did you hear/read it?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

My recollection is that that was the evidence given at trial, as reported in the media. My recollection is that Corby didn’t really dispute that, but suggested that she’d been flustered/confused at first. But I might conceivably be wrong; I’m working solely on a very fallible memory.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I recall that the police evidence was that she identified the bag as hers and then refused to open it when asked.

Mork
Mork
2021 years ago

James: but the AFP almost certainly HAS investigated … after all, there was definitely a crime committed in Australia. Don’t you think they’re curious about how the drugs got there? There has to be something more to that side of things than meets the eye.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

“There has to be something more to that side of things than meets the eye.”

Why? Growing hydroponic gunja is a thriving Australian cottage industry. All you need is a reasonably secure large room, some grolights, timer irrigation system, and a DIY book about hydroponics (and some good seeds). There are so many growers of quality indoor product that the police would have Buckley’s chance of discovering where Corby got the stuff in the absence of inside intelligence.

Ann
Ann
2021 years ago

I have been to the court and seen the body board bag first hand, if she were going to take drugs in the body board bag why put them in a clear plastic bag, or at the very least why not try to hide them by putting a beach towel around them. There is no smell eminating from the closed bag, the stench when the bag is opened is a different matter.

Also her body language when arrested was one of disbelievment and shock, unlike the Bali Nine who immediately knew they were in deep doo doo.

I have quite a bit of info about my trip on my blog.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

ken ,
if you are correct and I will willingly acknowledge your greater understanding in this matter, it still becomes much cheaper to do that in Bali then here and export the stuff.

This matter has a bad smell about it.

jen
jen
2021 years ago

That’s because Parry has been stoned for months now and the reek of gunja is beginning to infiltrate your pure and pristine environment Homer

love jen

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

That’s typical of you Martha, dragging everyone else down to your own prozac-sodden level. Twenty first century Bex, and depression means whatever you want, including bad-tempered, patronising and self-deludingly sarcastic. Poor Homer. Drops in for an innocent comment box natter and this is what he gets landed with.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

Sorry Ken, is it possible to translate your last two comments.
Who is Martha?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Who’s Afraid of Virginia McCulloch?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Sorry Homer. Couldn’t help myself. George and Martha were the two principal characters in Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, famously brought to the screen by Richard Burton and Liz Taylor (arguably the best screen performance by both of them). Jen and I occasionally engage in a bit of self-indulgent comment box role play as the drunken, mutually abusive, co-dependent George and Martha when bored with serious commenting. But Jen just tried to recast me as an ageing, dissolute, drug-addled hippie academic instead. I refused to accept the role and insisted on reverting to George instead. I’m a creature of habit.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

Ken ,you know they had to burn the school down to get me to finish it!

wbb
wbb
2021 years ago

Well, this thread has been a real eye opener for me.

It seems there is quite widespread knowledge of the ins and outs of marijuana production and consumption. Call me overly suspicious if you like but it seems on casual reading that many participating have even personally known people who’ve had contact with this highly illegal drug.

No wonder we all could care less whether or not somebody wears lead ear-rings as a result of similar involvement. It’s just all so ho-hum. If mildly amusing.

“In the room the women come and go.”

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

wbb

Yes, I have known people involved in hydroponic gunja production, and my law firm even defended some of them (though not me personally, because I’m not a criminal law specialist).

Also note that I’ve made no suggestion that Corby should face the death penalty or even a long prison sentence. I strongly oppose the death penalty and, although I don’t think gunja should be legalised, I also don’t think its use (or even trafficking) should be attended by penalties like life imprisonment. However, I DO think 2-5 years imprisonment would be a reasonable penalty for relatively large-scale international trafficking. Four kilos is not inconsiderable, and if the suggestions of 8 trips in 18 months are true and were also drug trips, then this was a trafficking operation on a fairly significant scale.

The post was essentially a reaction to numerous people (but specifically Miranda Devine) who seemed to think that convicting or even charging Corby was an outrageous affront that showed Indonesia’s primitive, corrupt legal system. In fact, as I argued, Corby would probably be convicted in an Australian court on this evidence.

James Farrell
James Farrell
2021 years ago

Wouldn’t the lack of fingerprints, or at least the failure of the police to release the results of fingerprinting, weigh heavily against a conviction in Australia?

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

Ken , on your belief there is no barriers to entry for this ‘production’ thus my question why would anyone export such a product to Bali?
It makes no sense.

wbb, TS Eliot is the greatest poet of all time and the lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock is the best one he wrote.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2021 years ago

“In the room the women come and go.
As the bong bubbles sweet and low”

And admit it Homer, yer stoned right now.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

there are only two drugs I regularly partake in.
Caffeine mainly in the morning and never more than three hits usually only two and alcohol only at my place.

you don’t need drugs to appreciate the genius of Eliot

jen
jen
2021 years ago

Don’t be mean to Homer.

you know how sensitive he is AND he knows the Lovesong.

(assuming superior demeanor)
Yawn
TS is a little undergrad for my taste. Banging on about how tawdry and horrid we all are.

Me I prefer my culture light ‘n’ happy. – Blue Heelers and Desperate Housewives and MTV.

And Schapelle?

Guilty for sure.

‘Oh I am so pretty and stupid and sad. please let me go and we can make love all night long.’

Well young lady thqat might have worked for you in the past but these are Indos your offering carnal delight to now. They don’t think you are in the least bit pretty and they don’t want to get all mixed up with your heart.

Harsh? Perhaps.

GILBERT
What’s the story with travel agent? Was it admitted as evidence?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

James

The absence of tendered evidence of Corby’s fingerprints on the plastic bag in which the gunja was wrapped (or evidence of absence of other fingerprints to eliminate suggestions of third party intercession) would certainly be a relevant factor in an Australian court. But the question would remain whether the case had been proved on the criminal onus. In this case:

(a) the dope was found in her actual physical possession.

(b) she initially refused to open the bag when challenged.

(c) the weight and bulk of 4 kilos of dope is such that it’s quite difficult to believe that Corby could have failed to notice it when she picked up the bag from the baggage carousel.

(d) there is no evidence pointing to a smuggling operation that had access to airport baggage handling at both ends (or either end). The hearsay evidence that was allowed in Bali would not have been admissible in Australia.

(e) It doesn’t really make sense to smuggle dope in this way with unwitting couriers. How were they going to retrieve the gunja from Schapelle once she got to Bali? Presumably it was that inherent improbability that led her defence team to postulate an Australian domestic smuggling operation gone wrong i.e. they had intended to off-load the dope during baggage-handling in Sydney, but somehow the off-loading failed to occur. But there is no evidence of any such thing. And it would be an extraordinarily complex, uncertain and risky way to smuggle dope domestically. Why would anyone bother to do this? Why not just drive the stuff to Sydney by car?

I’m not claiming Corby would definitely be convicted in Australia, but she might well have been for the above reasons.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

That’s it after Jen’s comments I am taking my boogie board home as gunja as I can given how grassed of I am , there is smoke coming out of my ears because I didn’t inhale.
Stone the crows Deperate housewives?

wbb
wbb
2021 years ago

Ken, I don’t know whether she is guilty or not.

What I do know is that it is completely barbaric that we lock people up in small rooms for very long periods of time when they are suspected of being part of the supply chain of marijuana that every second commenter here and elsewhere has used quite happily and willingly. Where are Corby’s alleged victims for god’s sake?

(Sorry to have offended your superior taste in aesthetics, jen. Anyway the ledger is squared because your snobbish disdain for Corby offends my superior taste for gracious generosity.)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

“Where are Corby’s alleged victims for god’s sake?”

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2005/s1315274.htm

“A whole generation of Australians has grown up believing that smoking pot is a harmless pastime.

They need to think again. The view of cannabis as a benign drug is under challenge

wbb
wbb
2021 years ago

I did not ask for a list of victims of marijuana use, Ken. I asked for the list of Corby’s alleged victims.

The generation of Australians you cite have formed the view that the drug is harmless as a result of these types of comments:

“And admit it Homer, yer stoned right now.”

To argue that the cultural views of a generation of Australians have been formed by the actions of growers and sellers of marijuana is wrong.

The views are the result of decades of consumption at every level of society. Did you know that there are even people who suggest that the drug be decriminalised? Including state premiers.

Do you not think that the views of such influential people may have lead someone like SC to have gathered that the drug is harmless.

Ken you have it the wrong way around. You are blaming the victim again.

If we are willing to lock people up for years then we must come out very strongly against the drug in public. The message out now is that everyone has done it – and that nobody is too worried that they did.

Perhaps you could make a start if on the off chance you have ever consumed marijuana. Say that you regret your actions and that you are sorry for being complicit in such an evil business.

Come out and say that the drug is dangerous and that people should steer well clear of it and that anybody caught in possession of it should be severely punished for the sake of the protection of society.

Let the message ring loud and clear. If we are going to support sending people to jail for long periods of time then we should make sure the message is well understood.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

wbb

I don’t support sending people to gaol for long periods of time (or at all) for possession of small quantities of dope, so to that extent your comment proceeds on a false premise. I do support moderate but significant periods of imprisonment for trafficking e.g. 1-2 years if this was Corby’s first and only trip, but more like 3 or 4 years if several of those alleged 8 trips in 18 months were also trafficking expeditions.

I don’t accept that anyone but a complete fool would be under the impression that international trafficking in dope was universally regarded as harmless and that one could confidently expect to escape significant punishment in any country whatever if caught doing it. Pig ignorance and wilful stupidity aren’t defences in law, nor should they be.

To the extent that you rely for this claim of an erroneous popular perception of harmlessness and quasi-legality on unnamed “prominent people” who have advocated decriminalisation, it’s impossible to respond in detail without knowing who you have in mind or what they said. But generally advocates of decriminalisation make a distinction between individual possession of small quantities for personal consumption, which they typically think should not be attended by criminal penalties (except maybe a small regulatory fine like a traffic conviction), and trafficking/dealing in significant amounts which most advocates of decriminalisation think (like me) should still be attended by significant criminal law sanctions. In fact, that DOES roughly correspnd to my own position, and it doesn’t require (or indeed permit) a conclusion that Corby (if guilty) merits being released without punishment.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Moreover, the Corby and Bali 9 cases, whatever their substantive outcomes, will certainly mean that the message will “ring loud and clear” from now on (even if you assume it didn’t do so previously, a proposition I don’t accept).

wbb
wbb
2021 years ago

Nice try, Ken.

There is no question that drug trafficking is dangerous for traffickers. Stupidity should never be a crime however.

I challenge you to state your own belief on the dangerousness of the drug itself. Unless you are prepared to state that the drug is a menace to society then you cannot defend locking up people involved in its production and consumption.

Are you being coy about your personal contact with marijuana or is there nothing to tell?

And how does your initial inflammatory statement that “and now that she apparently doesn’t face the death penalty in Bali either, my sympathy for her histrionics is in fairly short supply”, stack up with your amendment, given that such a person faces life imprisonment, that you “do support moderate but significant periods of imprisonment for trafficking e.g. 1-2 years if this was Corby’s first and only trip, but more like 3 or 4 years if several of those alleged 8 trips in 18 months were also trafficking expeditions.”

Which are we supposed to prefer as your true position?

Is the drug dangerous enough that the state must impose draconian penalties on those participating in its supply and consumption. Or is it not?

Are you prepared to set a brave example by repenting of any and all previous personal involvement? Are you prepared to atone for your participation in an industry that gives rise to the predicament of people like Corby. (Unless of course you are lily white. In which case, my profound respect for consistency.)

Mindy
Mindy
2021 years ago

A precedent has just been set which will probably affect both Schapelle and the Bali 9. A South African man has just been sentenced to life in prison for the possession of 1kg of heroin. He wasn’t caught trying to smuggle it out of the country, so he wasn’t sentenced to death. His judge is the same judge from Schapelle’s trial. I’m not sure how the Indonesians view dope as opposed to heroin but if they don’t make much of a differentiation then Schapelle could still be in serious trouble.

David
2021 years ago

As soon as the aussie airlines staff found someone had been arested they new it woz her she was showing all the signs. also her brother deals in drugs she could have been doing it for him