Corbymania

A number of readers have emailed urging me to say something about the bloody Schapelle Corby case. God knows why they’d want to read yet another pundit whittering on about it; surely Schapelle has already consumed enough column centimetres for even the most hardened legal soap opera addict. Not to mention the fact that all that moronic, manufactured hysteria about the case seems now to have provoked some even bigger lunatic into a letter bomb biological attack on the Indonesian Embassy. If I never hear anything more about Schapelle Corby it will be too soon.

In fact I have previously blogged about her case here, where I said:

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.

Various legal experts have subsequently agreed with my position i.e. we can’t by definition know positively whether Corby is in fact guilt or innocent, but there was certainly sufficient evidence to find her guilty, even in an Australian court.

Asian law expert Tim Lindsey made this point recently, as yesterday did highly respected Federal Court Justice Ronald Sackville:

First, apart from Corby herself and perhaps a few others, no one knows for sure if she is guilty or innocent.

Not her most fervent supporters. Not the media commentators who assert or assume her guilt or innocence. Not the Government or the Opposition. They may have strong opinions, but they do not know.

Second, there was enough evidence presented to the Indonesian court to make it a matter for the judges to decide whether or not Corby was guilty of the offences with which she was charged.

Notwithstanding the presumption of innocence, having a large amount of a prohibited drug in a person’s luggage is ordinarily enough to establish a prima facie case against an accused in any legal system.

This is so whether the ultimate decision is made by juries (as in Australian superior courts) or by a panel of judges (as in Indonesia).

I couldn’t agree more. It’s difficult to avoid concluding that the people who are so vehement about Corby’s innocence and imagined unfair treatment at the hands of the Indons are mostly motivated by an unattractive combination of racism and an ignorant belief that a young pretty woman with a Fountain Lakes moniker, big tits and a talent for strategically-staged histrionics couldn’t possibly be guilty.

Some commentators, even some you’d expect to know better (like Graham Young) seem to labour under the misapprehension that the Indonesian legal system (which is derived from European civil law) doesn’t have a presumption of innocence in criminal cases. That simply isn’t correct, as Tim Lindsey explains here. Certainly it appears that the onus of proof may shift formally to the defence once the prosecution has made out a prima facie case, but in effect that’s also true in British-based systems like ours. In Australia too, once the prosecution had proved Corby had the drugs in her possession and adduced evidence that she refused to open the bag and said words which (if the evidence was believed) meant she knew the gunja was there, Corby would effectively bear the burden of establishing a specific defence or negating that evidence (which she manifestly failed to do).

Other commentators suggest that the fact the judges in the Bali court allowed cameras and a mass of jabbering media into the courtroom, or the fact the judges were willing to answer media questions, somehow proves that the Indonesian system is hopelessly primitive and corrupt. But these are merely unimportant differences in the political and legal culture; they say nothing at all about the integrity or sophistication of the Indonesian legal system. Anyone who has taken any notice at all of the current Michael Jackson trial in the US would realise that it too has a quite different legal culture and traditions than Ausralia. It would be impossible to deny that Indonesia, despite its impressive democratic reform process, doesn’t still have some serious corruption problems, or that they sometimes affect the judiciary. But no-one has presented any credible basis for concluding (or even suspecting) that the Bali judges hearing the Corby case were either corrupt or incompetent.

At least some libertarian critics like Professor Bunyip seem to approach the issue from a vaguely principled position i.e. marihuana is a relatively harmless drug whose possession shouldn’t even be illegal let alone punishable by death or life imprisonment. However, their arguments of principle would be somewhat more convincing if they campaigned against US federal authorities as vehemenetly as they are doing against Indonesia. The Americans are the major international upholders of the War against Drugs strategy. If a poor country like Indonesia dared to legalise or even decriminalise marihuana it would almost certainly face heavy pressure and possibly even trade sanctions from the US.

I’m not suggesting that Corby hasn’t suffered injustice, however. But if she did, it wasn’t the fault of the Indonesian legal system. It appears that there is significant evidence of organised drug smuggling through Ausralian airports, but that it wasn’t made available to Corby’s defence team at an early enough stage to do her case any good. Whether that’s because they didn’t ask through the correct channels or because it would have jeopardised police investigations to disclose the evidence prematurely isn’t entirely clear. You would think that Australian authorities could at least have told Corby’s lawyers at an early stage that there were some ongoing investigations that couldn’t yet be disclosed but which might ultimately prove relevant to Corby’s defence, and that therefore they would be well advised to seek an adjournment of the trial until police had finalised matters. Whether an adjournment would have been granted in those circumstances is unclear, but I see no reason why the Federal Police could not have communicated with Corby’s legal team in those terms without compromising their investigation.

Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether the evidence of organised drug smuggling through Australian airports will in fact prove especially helpful to Corby’s defence anyway (even if she was being tried under Australian law). The smuggling racket exposed so far seems to be exclusively international, and involve harder and more high-yielding drugs like cocaine and heroin. As I’ve commented previously, it isn’t at all obvious why domestic drug smugglers (as opposed to international ones) would take the extraordinary and totally unnecessary risk of smuggling gunja in the luggage of unsuspecting airline passengers, when they could do so far more simply and with little or no risk through transporting it by road. On the other hand, the reported (and corroborated) evidence of some Bali tourists who found gunja in their luggage on arrival at ther Kuta hotel some 7 years ago suggests that Corby’s story isn’t utterly implausible or unheard of. But again this evidence wasn’t placed before the Bali court during Corby’s trial AFAIK.

Readers whose Corbymania still isn’t satiated could do much worse than read this post by political science blogging guru Bryan Palmer. Bryan has done the hard yards on Corby, and I agree with pretty well everything he says. Now back to marking endless essays.

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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Nicholas Gruen
2021 years ago

Well Ken,

‘whittering’ isn’t in my dictionary – or should I say ‘wasn’t’. Now it is. I like the word and may do a bit of whittering myself shortly – if indeed I have not whittered once or twice before now!

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

It isn’t racist to criticise a legal system that is manifestly corrupt.

When a judge openly boasts that he has never acquited an accused person, that is sufficient evidence to prove that justice is not available in that court.

Regardless of whether or not Corby is guilty, it is an inescapable fact that the Indonesian legal system stinks to high heaven.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

EP – what would be the “corrupt” incentive for the Denpasar court to have found Corby guilty? As Ken points out, the evidence clearly amounted to a substantive case to answer in any jurisdiction; an answer which Corby failed to give in any convincing detail.

Was the judge “boasting” or stating an incontrovertible fact? It’s certainly not something that a member of the Australian judiciary would own in mid-trial but it’s a different culture and all that and I’m not convinced that his observation equates to the absence of justice.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

I think the fact that a judge can sit in over 400 cases without once acquiting a defendant is evidence of corruption.

It is statistically unlikely in the extreme that, out of any random group of 400 defendants, every single one should be provably guilty. The inescapable conclusion is that the court has a deliberate policy of finding all defendants guilty, regardless of the evidence or the actual guilt or innocence of the accused.

The nature of the corruption is that when a court is incapable of finding a defendant innocent, then it is not a court of justice but a rubber stamp for the prosecution. The incentive, according to the judge, is that if he ever acquitted someone, people would think he was taking bribes(!).

When outcomes are uniform and predetermined without regard to facts, justice is absent. This is corruption of the true purpose of a court, which is to establish guilt or innocence.

blank
blank
2021 years ago

The fact that the judge has never acquitted an accused person is neither here nor there. Nor does it indicate that justice is not available in that court.

In Japan, the conviction rate is over 99%.

From the Indonesian point of view, Corby’s was an open and shut case – much the same as the Yoshio Katsuno case in Melbourne in 1992. Arrive in a country with drugs in your baggage, and chances are you end in jail.

Emma Tom, in The Australian, pointed out that you can get 20 years for cannabis offences in Canberra.

I’m sure the media hysteria would be non-existant if Schapelle were a tattooed bloke, or if her name were Nguyen Thi Bi.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“When outcomes are uniform and predetermined without regard to facts, justice is absent’

That’s nonsense. The facts, as presented, amount to a prima facie case that any defendant would have have to answer, in any jurisdiction. And she didn’t provide any defence much beyond “it wasn’t me.’ It wouldn’t be enough, anywhere.

The sentence was clearly well in excess of that an Australian court would provide in similar circumstances but Indonesia generally does have much harsher penalties for drug-related offences.

MrLefty
2021 years ago

Isn’t the problem that Corby didn’t just have to raise a reasonable doubt with her defence – she had to prove that she didn’t know about the drugs?

That is fundamentally different from our system, and it makes defending one of these charges pretty much impossible. In fact, it makes the system in effect “guilty until proven innocent”, despite claims to the contrary.

It appears that there is no mental element required for this offence under Indonesian law, which strikes me as fundamentally unjust. From remarks from both the judges and the prosecution, it appears that all that needs to be proven is that the drugs were there – whether Corby knew about it or put them there is apparently irrelevant.

There’s a very good reason why offences under our criminal law system require mens rea -because otherwise you’re punishing people for something they haven’t intentionally done and have no control over, which is unjust.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Now I’m not agreeing with EP that the Indonesian justice system is corrupt but it is interesting that John Howard has said that the package sent to the Indonesian embassy will harm Corby’s chances with the appeal courts.

Why should this be so, if they are just dispassionately considering the case on its legal merits?

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

I neither know nor care whether or not Corby was guilty.

The fact is that she could not have had a fair trial under the corrupt Indonesian legal system.

If a court finds 100% of defendants guilty, then it is impossible that such a court could provide justice. It simply is not capable of making a decision with regard to guilt or innocence.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Some more ‘Corby is innocent’ fans here it seems
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15484214-29277,00.html

As I pointed out elsewhere, I weighed MasterO’s(6’3″ strapping footballer with size 11 feet) boogy board, flippers and zip bag at a coincidental 4.1kg. When Corby picked up her boogy board package it had doubled in weight and thickness and she apparently didn’t notice. Perhaps when you’re all out shopping next, you’d like to load up two of your shopping bags(the greeny material ones of course), one with 2 of 2Kg bags of sugar and one with 4 of them and feel the weight difference.(not all at once for we genuine sugar shoppers please)Also the zip bag is made from lightweight ripstop nylon, usually with a zip pocket(the one Corby was happy to open to show it was empty)for acessories like nylon skivvies(avoids board rash) or socks(avoids chafing flippers), none of which Corby’s bag contained. Boogy boards consist of a hard plastic bottom with a smooth compressed foam upper which is readily appreciated when handled through a lightweight nylon cover bag. Why didn’t Schapelle Corby appreciate the addition of the pack(mattress?) of lumpy compressed MJ when she first retrieved her luggage, when she walked to the green line queue with it, when she was asked with her group to go to the baggage inspection line, when she was asked to place it on the counter?

Extremely tough penalty by our standards, which Corby is in shock over. She would feel doubly aggrieved and partially ‘innocent’ if she was led to believe by one or more co-conspirators, that women can regularly breeze through Indonesian Customs with their profitable payload. She might even come across as completely innocent.

ab
ab
2021 years ago

EP,

Maybe the Indonesian cops only charge the ones they think they can really nail. That’s what it’s like here in Oz most of the time. The cops/DPP don’t usually waste their time prosecuting borderline cases.

And anyway, isn’t this ‘100% guilty’ thing about one particular judge? Are you saying because one of the three judges has never acquitted someone, that therefore the court, consisting of three judges, cannot do justice?

Also, someone mentioned that Japan has a 99% conviction rate. You says it is statitically unlikely in the extreme that 100% of defendants before Indonesion courts are guilty. If that is correct, then isn’t it, for all intents and purposes, as statistically unlikely that 99% of defendants before Japanese courts are guilty. On this basis, it must be your view that the Japanese legal system is inacapable of doing justice?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

On this 100% guilty findings claim, the judge in question was referring only to drug cases. Generally they are ones where a person is found in actual possession of drugs (like Corby). In a situation where defendants are caught red-handed, it probably IS unlikely that many if any are going to be found not guilty. That doesn’t prove the system is corrupt, just that it isn’t difficult to get a 100% conviction record when you only put to trial defendants who are caught red-handed committing a crime.

As for whether drug possession requires mens rea in Indonesia, I can’t say unequivocally, but it would appear to be implicit in the fact that the defence were trying to adduce evidence that she didn’t know about it and the judge allowed that evidence to be adduced, that mens rea IS an element. And that again brings us back to the strength of the case against Corby:

(1) She had the gunja in her physical possession;

(2) There was evidence that she refused to open it when asked;

(3) there was evidence that she said something like “I’ve go some stuff in there|” or words to that effect, which if accepted clearly prove she knew the stuff was there. She admitted to saying some such thing, but claimed it was a slightly different form of words that didn’t of itself prove she knew the stuff was there (i.e. the words were equally consistent with her having just noticed that the bag was suspiciously bulging).

(4) As observa points out above, the weight and bulk of 4 kgs of dope, given the lightness of a boogie board and the soft bag, makes it a bit difficult to believe that Corby didn’t notice the unexpected addition to her luggage as soon as she pulled it off the baggage carousel. The bag would have been more than twice as thick as expected and more than twice as heavy as well.

That is, there was plenty of evidence from which the court could properly find that Corby had the requisite mens rea (criminal intent).

ab
ab
2021 years ago

By the way, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says that for the period July 2002 to June 2003, 94% of defendants tried for drug offences in Victoria were found guilty. How would you respond to that, statistically speaking?

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

I just did a google on “Schappelle Corby”. 217 000 hits!

She even has her own entry in Wikipedia.

No wonder Harry M wants to sign her up to his stable of celebrities.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

I would say that a 94% or 99% conviction rate is credible, since it at least allows for the possibility that some defendants may in fact be innocent.

But a 100% conviction rate, over many hundreds of cases? No innocent person has ever been put on trial on drug charges in Indonesia? That’s about as realistic as the 100% vote of confidence for Saddam Hussein in 2002.

With a 100% conviction rate, you don’t need a court at all. Just let the arresting officer do the sentencing, and save money on judges’ pay.

ab
ab
2021 years ago

Wait, 99% guilty in thousands upon thousands of cases in Japan is credible, but 100% guilty in respect of a single Indonesian judge in respect of drugs cases is conclusive proof of corruption? Come on. I wouldn’t be surprised if I could find a Victorian magistrate that has a 100% guilty rate for drug possession cases.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

If you could find a Victorian mafgistrate with a 100% conviction rate on 400 cases or more, I’d doubt his competence as well. And I’m not sure about that 99% rate in Japan, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

!00% of all accused are guilty? That’s just bullshit, mate. No legal system is that perfect.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

EP,
If one of the judges had found 1000/1000 previous defendants guilty, it would not matter one iota in Corby’s particular case. The facts. Read Ken’s and my comments again and you’ll see why 3 judges, who could see touch and handle the items I discussed came up with- ‘A likely story luv!’

I weighed the lad’s surf gear because I smelled a rat. That’s because I’ve handled his and his mates gear that many times when they’ve dumped them by my back doorstep to trip over, it’s not funny. Now do yourself a favour with the sugar trick next time you’re at the supermarket and take some time at a surf shop or a department store with a boogy board and cover to see what I mean. When MSM start asking the real questions about Schapelle’s story like this, they’re going to agree with the judges verdict.

As to the severity of sentence cf other Bali cases you have to ask yourself why would the Judges show any leniency? After all, in their view, they were faced with a recalcitrant and remorseless drug runner who was blaming Indonesian Customs officers for lying about her behaviour and admissions and a Gold Coast businessmen who reckoned they were all on the take. Talk about hanging yourself as far as any mitigating penalty goes. My view is, when she eventually calms down and analyses her predicament, she’ll spill her guts and throw herself on the mercy of the President. The ‘Corby is innocent’ crowd are going to look pretty foolish when she does. We’ll see.

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

The substance sent to the Indonesian Embassy yesterday wasn’t dangerous, according to the latest reports. Those like Andrew Bolt who’ve compared Corby supporters to terrorists are looking more hysterical and foolish than the ‘Our Schapelle’ crowd ever have.

And what about those modern forensics, eh? They’ve ensured proper justice will be dispensed to the perpetrators when they’re apprehended. Chances are they’ll also be tried by a judge who doesn’t brag to the media about what a macho hang ’em high merchant he is. If found guilty, the idiots will then receive an appropriate sentence and manage to survive jail without catching cholera.

None of this is a fluke. Give it a whirl Indonesia.

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2021 years ago

I’ve obviously been under a misapprehension about the Australian criminal law system, since KP says she would have been convicted here with the evidence as presented.

Is “proven beyond a reasonable doubt” a requirement in American criminal jurisdictions only and not here?

Many reasonable people have not had their reasonable doubts resolved. I haven’t read the transcripts (there have even been reports that Indonesian courts don’t have transcripts), but with all the fors and againsts that I’ve read, there’s no way that I would have voted guilty had I been on a jury. Even on “balance of probabilities” criteria, it’s a 50-50 guilty or not guilty at worst for Corby.

C.L.
C.L.
2021 years ago

Observa: what you’re not acknowledging is that there isn’t one lumpen ‘Corby is innocent’ crowd. There are many others like myself who make no comment on her innocence or guilt but focus instead on the sentence, the justice system and the bilateral context.

Thanks for the post Ken. Don’t retire – just write something when you feel like it!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Whyisitso

The only evidence presented to the court that supported Corby’s innocence was her own self-serving statement that “it must have been planted”, which was contradicted by the evidence of guilty mind adduced by the customs officers, and the evidence of the Aussie crim about alleged baggage handler smuggling, which wouldn’t have been admissible in an Australian court anyway (or an American one for that matter). On that basis, it would unquestionably have been open to a court in either Australia or the US (or anywhere else for that matter) to find her guilty beyond reasonable doubt (as Justice Sackville also observed yesterday). The fact that you personally might have chosen to find her not guilty had you been on the jury proves nothing at all, especially since you didn’t even hear the evidence given and have no basis whatever for knowing what you would have thought had you done so.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Observa,

As I’ve said, I don’t care if Corby was innocent or not. I’m not interested in Corbny; I’m interested in politics.

The entirety of my point is that the Indonesian legal system is corrupt and unjust, and that it is completely legitimate for Australians to express that opinion.

There are those who claim that criticism of Indonesian legal processes is a form of “racism” or “xenophobia”. I refute the racists who say it is wrong to criticise people who happen to be non-white; they are no more angelic or less corruptible than anyone else.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Ken, to what do you attribute Corby mania?

It can’t be just be the perceived injustice of either the conviction or the sentence. (For my part, I am agnostic on the conviction and think the sentence was harsh – it was only dope, for God’s sake, not smack.) It can’t also be the fact that she has big tits – prsumably this of no interest to high brow (cough, cough) people like C.L.

I reckon we are seeing a re-run of the “Muslim men rape blonde Aussie women” psycho-drama that we had in Sydney a few years ago.

It was all nicely summarised in a message on the schapelle.org site where some idiot posted that he would flush as many copies of the Koran down the toilet as the number of years Corby sentenced. (Yeah, I know the Balinese aren’t Muslims – irrelevant.)

Add to the mix (i) it happened on Bali, where Indonesian scum Muslims murdered 202 Aussies (ii) we came to their aid in the hour of need just a few months ago, blah, blah, blah and you get this extraordinary reaction.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Dave

Yes, the Corby case has all the key soap opera/melodrama/emotive and almost mythic elements: sex, drugs, race, mystery, intrigue and conspiracy, not to mention the distinctly Kath and Kim-ish antics of Chapelle and her family and the comical white shoe shuffle of her financial saviour Ron Bakr (is he related to Abu B Bashir, I wonder?). The story is a deadset ratings winner. Kerry Packer must be rapt. The Bilal Skaf comparison is an apt one. So is Lindy Chamberlain. That case lacked the racial element but had a stronger religious one, a slightly more exotic locale and more bizarre facts.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Ron Bakr is now being courted by Laurence Springborg to run as a National Party candidate at the next Queensland election.

Fair dinkum, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Yes all the planets lined up with the Corby case. Is this here http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=51584
why the Indonesians think we’re off the planet with our attitudes to the effects of drugs on indigenous people? I confess to jumping to some stereotypical conclusions here. Anyone know for sure if I am?

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2021 years ago

Oh, come one Ken, don’t give me that shit about not having been in court to hear the evidence. Neither were you but you’re so sure of her guilt! All I’m saying is that I’m not convinced either way and if I were on a jury in Australia I would have to give here the benefit of a reasonable doubt. And it wouldn’t be alone on that jury with that view.

Francis Xavier Holden
2021 years ago

I think observa is channelling my thoughts. I’m agreeng with observa on almost everything.

I shall now have a Bex, a cuppa tea and a good lie down.

the saintly alan greenspan
the saintly alan greenspan
2021 years ago

“That’s because I’ve handled his and his mates gear that many times when they’ve dumped…”

Heh.

Ken Miles
Ken Miles
2021 years ago

While I suspect Corby is guilty, I also have no faith in the ability of Indonesian legal system to deliver a fair trial.

The judge record of handing out guilty verdicts combined with the sloppiness of the police at the airport kills, in my mind, any chance that that Corby had of getting a fair trial.

Transparency International 2004 survey of perceived corruption puts Indonesia very close to the bottom (it shares its rating with countries such as The Democratic Republic of Congo and Tajikistan). http://www.transparency.org/cpi/2004/cpi2004.en.html#cpi2004

Should Corby’s legal team successfully appeal based off the judges comments about her needing to prove her innocence, then I’ll happily eat my comment.

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2021 years ago

My layman’s understanding about criminal cases in Australia is that the prosecution has to convince a committal hearing with prima facie evidence of guilt to have a case proceed to trial. In the actual trial the prima facie case is subject to rigorous examination with the accused still having the presumption of evidence. In Indonesia it seems that once a prima facie case is presented the tables are turned and the accused has to PROVE his or her innocence. This is where experts like Tim Lindsey are having us on by saying that there is no difference between the two countries in the innocence or guilt presumption. Even the Indonesian judge is quoted as saying that Shapelle had to prove her innocence. The concept of reasonable doubt appears to be non-existent there.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2021 years ago

“I think observa is channelling my thoughts. I’m agreeng with observa on almost everything.” FXH

Me, too. It’s worrying trend, I can tell you. Still, I must say that although I hardly often agree with them, Observa and James H can offer a quirky take on things at times and are worth at least worth thinking about.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Whyisitso

I dealt with this point earlier, but perhaps not clearly enough. It’s true in a formal sense that the onus of proof never shifts in a criminal trial in Australia and the common law world. The prosecution continues to bear it throughout. But in a practical rather than formal sense the difference from the Indonesian system isn’t as stark as you’re suggesting, I think (though still important). In either system, once the prosecution has proved its case such that the defendant is most likely going to be convicted unless she does something, she bears a practical onus to prove herself innocent (or at least to re-establish reasonable doubt).

But perhaps that parenthetical point is where the difference lies – under the Indonesian system the defendant must not only re-establish reasonable doubt once a prima facie case is made by the prosecution, but must then positively prove innocence. I’m not sure of that proposition, because I don’t claim to be an expert on Indonesian or civil law, but if it’s right then it’s certainly a significant difference that DOES make it harder for a defendant than would apply in common law countries. But it isn’t the same as saying that there is no presumption of innocence, nor does it mean that a civil law system is manifestly primitive or unfair. Is it an undeniable truth that it’s more important that an innocent person should never be convicted than that a hundred guilty ones go free (the supposed rationale for the detailed operation of the common law presumption of innocence), or are other possible points of balance (like the European one) equally plausible? Would we be objecting about the imbalance and unfairness of the system if the person on trial was someone we all thought was clearly guilty of a crime we all detested (e.g. the Bali bombing)?

phil
phil
2021 years ago

I’d like to hear some of the commenters have a discussion about the meanings of and difference between corruption and incompetence. If a judge had let off 400 out of 400, I’d be guessing corruption. If he gaols 400 out of 400, I’d be wondering about institutional biases in the system and, in this case, a system that I know even less about than my own (not being a lawyer). And if police didn’t fingerprint etc – how many times out of 400 did they or didn’t they?

Anon
Anon
2021 years ago

I have never been to Bali. But I was speaking today with someone who used to be a roadie for bands touring in South East Asia, including Bali. My roadie friend told me the word on the street was the best place for foreigners to buy marijuana was from a surf shop. What is it that Schapelle’s sister and brother-in-law run in Bali? I will let the reader connect the dots,

Another speculation is that the dope was actually Schapelle’s brother’s, who travelled with her to Bali. The reason Schapelle is only seeing her mother and not her siblings, is that she knows and they know who is really guilty. The problem for Schapelle is that if she admits it now, her brother may go to gaol, but as an accessory, Schapelle would not go free.

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2021 years ago

“But it isn’t the same as saying that there is no presumption of innocence”. Oh yes it is!!! You’re just playing with words there Ken. Tim Lindsey notwithstanding the presumption of innocence means that the benefit of the doubt has to be real. In Bali it patently is not.

I’m agnostic about Corby’s guilt or innocence. But I just find it astonishing how the Australian media (left and right) almost to a man (and woman) is now howling her supporters down, after inflaming the debate hysterically for weeks. What a disgusting lot they are.

Just as sickening is the SMH editorial this morning about the “anthrax” attack – nothing more than an innocuous powder sent through the mail by an idiot. The Herald appears to be pointing to an equivalence between the Jakarta embassy bombing some time ago and this pathetic episode. Get real!

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Don’t let us channelling, borderline psychopathic, business types get to you and be very diplomatic when talking about’The War'(on drugs)http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15486277-29277,00.html
Apparently I don’t feel the need to be diplomatic ;)

David Tiley
2021 years ago

Lindsay said some interesting things on the ABC about the Indonesian appeals system, which has some features which I think make it fairer than ours.

Although all the discussion is presented as documents and not in person, it seems that arguments can be laid as to interpretations of fact, rather than just the law.

And when all is said and done, it is possible for Schapelle to appeal to the president for clemency, if she admits her guilt.

One thing that troubles me about this case – there is a lot of debate turning on this boast by a judge that they have tried four hundred cases and convicted all of them. Is there a link for this? Is it a second hand report?

After all, we were so sure that dingos never ate babies.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

David

I would be the first to concede that newspapers, especially Murdoch ones, aren’t always right, but see http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,15400787%255E1702,00.html

Nic White
2021 years ago

The media went to town so much on this, must have had record sales out of perpetuating the hysteria for so long, its only just starting to taper off now. Shocking journalism too, a lot of emotive crap thrown together to whip the public into a frenzy – and it worked. Sad stae of affairs where the population can be made to think what someone else wants them to.

And is seems Ron Bakir is going to try to make a political career out of the publicity.

http://52nd.blogspot.com/2005/06/bakir-for-mp-2.html

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

David and Ken, I saw him interviewed on the news and assuming the translation was accurate, that’s what he said.

Tiny Tyrant
2021 years ago

“The Herald appears to be pointing to an equivalence between the Jakarta embassy bombing some time ago and this pathetic episode.”

So, has Indonesia reserved the right to act pre-emptively, a la Howard Election ’04?

jen
jen
2021 years ago

I’ve quickly scanned the comments and feel that I am not being at all repetitive when I point out FOR THE FIRST TIME on this thread that Schappelle certainly does have well groomed eyebrows and an incredibly entertaining Mum.

Poor Shappy, how dare the Indos have laws that don’t suit her. Don’t they know she went to beauty school? Don’t they know how hard it has been for her to grow away from that eminently unsuitable mother? and now look. All Australia knows just who loves her the most.

But Shappy, and I mean this,I’d feel like shit if I was in a prison, and being guilty wouldn’t make me feel any better.
Chin up girl think of the movie rights. You, my girl, are a wealthy woman.

jen
jen
2021 years ago

and Parish you’ve read Yes Minister It’s wittering and Bernard does it and so does Sir Humphrey. And no-one else is petty enough to correct you. Lucky I’m here huh?

Whyisitso
Whyisitso
2021 years ago

I very rarely agree with Richard Ackland but this morning’s opinion piece in the SMH is easily the best analysis I’ve seen of this issue so far.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Opinion/Indonesian-legal-system-doesnt-inspire-trust/2005/06/02/1117568316667.html

sophie
sophie
2021 years ago

Leaving aside questions as to the gulit or otherwise of Schapelle Corby, I think that the whole episode shows some pretty weird and interesting things up, and provides a kind of snapshot of modern Australian society which is really rather fascinating. Some of them are fairly traditional things: the suspicion of Indonesia, the focussing on a pretty, weeping woman, for instance, but other things are less predictable. The idea that Bali is a kind of extension of Australia–a sort of distant Gold Coast–is one. But two things which would once have been completely at odds, struck me: the idea that both religious faith and marijuana use and even dealing are seen now as totally normal and part of ordinary people’s lives. Schapelle as Madonna with her Bible in one hand and her boogie board stuffed with ganja on the other!
BTW I’ve noticed the religious angle getting a whirl in criminal cases fairly often these days–for instance in that case where the ex- Maroubra ‘Bra Boys’ gang member and surfie killed his ex-mate who was threatening him(and was acquitted). He referred several times to his ‘faith in God’ helping him overcome his fears and doubts while in jail–I think he even had a rosary with him!
Overt religiosity is no longer a thing for dags, it seems.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2021 years ago

“Overt religiosity is no longer a thing for dags, it seems.”

Or it’s the second last refuge of scoundrels.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

corbymania thankfully seems to be on the wane. big demo in brisvegas today attracted:

– reporters: 24
– demonstrators: 6

hold those movie negotiations.

Mark U
Mark U
2021 years ago

Whyisitso says “I very rarely agree with Richard Ackland but this morning’s opinion piece in the SMH is easily the best analysis I’ve seen of this issue so far.” What analysis? The article seemed to be full of a lot of half-baked opinion and not much else.

The best analysis I have seen so far is Ken’s. It is funny how since Ken declared that he is not going to post as often he has come out firing on all cylinders.