the 77% herd

1 June 2005 at 19:56 (General)

The Bulletin arrived in the post today. Of interest was a letter on page 6 that helped to clarify my views on the whole Schapelle Corby trial.

What were the Indonesians supposed to do with the 4.1kg of drugs in Corby’s luggage? If she were male, non-white, looked the part of a criminal and had a record, many people would be saying good riddance and throw away the key.

I don’t know if she is innocent or not and I would not want an innocent person to be convicted but the hype about this case borders on hypocritical. Last time I looked, our most powerful “friend” had an Australian citizen in confinement at Guantanamo Bay for merely being in Afghanistan. I guess no pictures and no pretty face don’t go too far for news.

– Mark Sommerfeld, Casino, NSW

I agree. The only evidence I can see that’s going for her is that she doesn’t look like a stereotypical drug smuggler and there’s speculation that the people accusing her are corrupt. So it’s her word against theirs, but they have evidence where she has nothing.



  1. Deirdre said,

    I think we should blame all those “stereotypical” drug smugglers for this public hysteria. If they just cleaned up their act and looked a bit more photogenic, stories like Ms Corby’s would never get a run.

    The media interest in the case is just strange. I’m hoping it actually ISN’T because she’s an attractive woman who cries all the time. I prefer to think it’s just a story most people can relate to: travel overseas to a popular destination, and then – oops! get arrested for drug smuggling.

    (Like you, I’ve got no idea whether she’s guilty of the crime. And who would, outside those involved in the case? If Australians were actually getting het up about issues of “justice”, there are plenty of other stories they could get their angry teeth into.

  2. toto said,

    agreed. there’s plenty more injustice to lose sleep over (ie refugees)

    it’s kind of like bush saying he’ll go tough on terror but ignore North Korea who are busy publicly making and testing their bombs. Or Clinton before him, who’s sexual exploits will never be forgotten unlike the genocide in Rwanda he conveniently ignored (after getting troops to remove the US embassy workers). People don’t care about the real world issues, they just want newstainment that they can easily feel passionate about.

  3. Nimeton said,

    I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while but am unsure to the point of not blogging so maybe i shouldn’t be commenting either but…

    First issue:
    I’m unsure if the chick is innocent or guilty. As far as I’m aware there is quite a bit of evidence that she is actually innocent and the indonesian justice process from the word go wasn’t fair. Still, i really must research this sometime.

    Second issue:
    Suppose she is guilty. Do you respect the indonesian justice system and laws? Is it simply a case of she should have known better or is the whole thing too harsh? Do you respect the Australian justice system/laws, is it better? I’m undecided somewhat.

    Overall is the whole thing getting too much media attention? Yes.

    DO I really care that much? No, I’m sure I’ll forget about the whole thing soon enough but in respects to the questions it raises about standards and laws i find it genrally interesting.

    is this as hard to follow as the essay im destractign myself from?

  4. toto said,

    1st: I haven’t researched it enough either to feel totally informed, but i felt this letter sums up my feelings on the matter rather well, probably regardless of any details I’m ignorant of.

    2nd: She was in Indonesia. You have to abide by the law of the land. If you don’t like their laws don’t enter their country – it’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if I think their laws are too harsh or whatever… one thing’s clear, Australian’s shouldn’t be telling them how to run their legal system. From what i’ve heard they have a fairly significant drug culture in Bali so they are dealing out harsh penalties everyone to try and clear the streets up. – As for their justice system (ie the bent cops and other law enforcers), well sadly it’s most likely true, but that’s true for Adelaide as well to a degree. At the end of the day you have to partly look after yourself.

    3rd/4th: yes it gets too much attention and no I don’t really care about the whole thing or Corby an awful amount, I’m a lot more concerned about the racism this is breeding.

  5. Nimeton said,

    Hrmm I feel that summing up your feelings when you are ignorant of the detail is a dangerous thing to do. Well, it can be if it is on mass. Why is racism breeding? Probably partly because people have decided to take a particular point of view and many are probably ignorant of the detail.

    As for abiding by the law of the land you decide to enter. Yes, I fully agree with you. Still, next time you go overseas assume you get caught with drugs in your bag… Would you be happy for the Australian government to do nothing as you’ve decided to take the risk of leaving the country? It sounds like a great way to kill tourism.

    If Corby is guilty then I figure she is a silly girl who deserves what she got. If she is innocent then the Australian government has a responsibility to defend its citizens. My problem is, how do you establish guilt or innocence in the first place? Again, putting myself in the same situation I would like to see the Australian government at least make an effort to see if I was actually trafficing drugs in the first place.

    Or do you really think that if you go to another country you should be left to fend for yourself regardless because other countries shouldn’t interfere? I don’t think I do… Common saying “no man is an isalnd”. Well countries can’t be treated in isolation in a globalised world either. For sure we should respect internal Indonesian affairs but at the same time we have a responsibility to our citizens.

    I find it interesting how very far out of the way the Australian government did actually say which says one of two things to me. They either have some political adjenda I’m unaware of or they revieded the case and believe the establishment of guilt is credible.

  6. Nimeton said,

    in the last paragraph “say” should be “stay”

  7. Nimeton said,

    Or maybe, as with the Guantanamo Bay case, they’ve just decided that they don’t want to play international politics beyond sucking up to our “friends” in the usa. i mean im sure the howard government is closley watching how Corby is effecting their popularity polls, as they would have done with hicks. and if they find that neither thing is going to effect them come election time then why would they bother to make any effort at all…

    now im just going off on a tangent so i should stop and go to bed.

  8. Anonymous said,

    The Indonesian justice system (better referred to as Roman/European law, since the same system is in use throughout continental Europe) isn’t unfair – it’s simply different. They have no presumption of innocence, or guilt. The court is inquistorial, it (the judge) actively seeks to discover what happened. This is all in opposition to the British common law system we have where there is presumption of innocence and the court can only rule on matters brought before it by the participants.

    And the sentence sure is draconian, but that’s got fuck-all to do with the system and everything to do with public policy, as matty pointed out. And I don’t see any reason why we can’t criticise that. It’s a complete joke that someone should get 20 years for a few kilos of dope, and like sam says, it doesn’t matter whether it happens on Kings Cross or Denpasar.

    He quoted John Donne, i’ll quote him too. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. As with death, as with an unjust sentence. I feel sorry for Corby insofar as she’s going to gaol for a long time instead of getting a good behaviour bond.

    Anyway. There is a country of apes in this part of the world, and today’s events showed precisely where it is.

  9. Anonymous said,

    You all know who I am.

  10. Deirdre said,

    I haven’t followed this story, so maybe this has already been dealt with somewhere. But assuming the drugs came from Australia, why aren’t the airlines or customs authorities at this end held accountable for allowing them to leave? Or are customs checks only run on arrival?

    And your question, Nimeton: “how do you establish guilt or innocence in the first place” if the prosecuting system is corrupt? That’s interesting. What if the Australian authorities believe she didn’t knowingly take the drugs in, and also believe the legal case was hopeless and designed to convict her – what can they do? And say we DO think their system is corrupt, what about all the Indonesians who are wrongly convicted and possibly even killed? Theoretically, or ethically, shouldn’t we try to save them as well? I know a national border means a lot, but should it? I wouldn’t want any other country interfering in our affairs, but on the other hand, if our government was killing its own citizens (say we had a province such as West Papua) I think I’d be hoping someone else could help.

  11. Deirdre said,

    I don’t know whether I know who you are, Anon, but maybe I don’t count.

  12. Anonymous said,

    Ha, maybe we should get our own Papua. Look out you Kiwi scum!

  13. toto said,

    The reason I feet unsure of the details is because there’s a lot of support for this chick and it would make sense that everyone wouldn’t be backing her so hard unless there was some hard evidence to show she’s a victim. But the more I read, the more I believe it’s just spin. The media doesn’t make mention of why they think she should be given better odds, they don’t back it up with reasoning, they just present her as a victim because it makes a good story… nothing as far as I can tell, to do with justice.

    And i’m feeling increasingly sure of my feelings.

    The whole thing is breeding racism because people are blaming the people of Indonesia, telling us to boycott bali or making statements about how they don’t deserve our aid. Blaming the country because there’s speculation that there are a few bent cops around the airport is stupid. Sending biological weapons to the embassy is just fucking idiotic.

    oh and I was going to say something about the whole presumption of innocence thing that some people seem to be making a molehill out of. Even under our system I hope she’d get done:
    If the cops in Australia were to arrest someone who is coming into the country and they report that they found an illegal substance in their bag, the detainee can kiss their innocence good-bye. Unless there’s evidence that the detainee was just a victim of circumstance it’s very likely they’re going to be found guilty.

    there are more issues with this that you guys have raised but, …meh

  14. Anonymous said,

    The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time. George Bernard Shaw.

    Damn, you’re expecting a bit much of the TV, radio, and newspaper monkeys to ask for reportage that resembles reality. Ignorance is knowledge, opinion is fact, emotion is reason. Corby is innocent. (And they say the media is dominated by liberals. Pshaw!)

    And it gets more and more fun. The anthrax lite that got sent to the embassy was accompanied by a note – written in Indonesian! I mean, I want my tsunami money back, but I ain’t about to go burning my Indo-Eng dictionary, am I? That’d just be silly.

    Honestly. this whole episode has gotta be making the Kiwis shudder and think, Shit, who are we negotiating for closer ties with here?! Apes. The whole fucking country is full of brainless apes.

  15. Teddy said,

    I don’t know anything about the case either, nor have I noticed the media supplying any. I still have a small point to make:

    With all the media attention this case is receiving, if they declared Corby innocent it would appear that they (the judges) were giving in to media pressure. Surely this would encourage more smugglers to go to Bali. So the judges would have to give her some token punishment to discourage this. Given that is this situation, that punishment is death, 20 years is just that.

    I’m not saying that this is the only reason for the judges decision. There must have been enough evidence to convict her, but just think about what the media are doing.

  16. toto said,

    Alan Jones: “Without interfering, would it be improper, for our government to ask Indonesian authorities at the highest level for an official pardon of this woman?”

    John Howard: “Well Alan, you don’t’ ask for a pardon until there is something to be pardoned.”

    Alan Jones: “That’s a good answer.”
    – 2GB Jones 16 May 2005

    anonymous (if that is your real name), mediawatch ran a story on this weeks show about how the family and editors are pulling the strings of the journalists. looking at the transcript of the show it only makes note of the family pushing the agenda (which is fair enough). Perhaps I heard wrongly.

    (from down the bottom of their transcript)
    “[the family] got angry and said, “We’re only interested in talking to journalists who are going to give us good coverage.”

  17. Anonymous said,

    Apologies! I’m Kent! I just can’t be bothered shift-tabbing twice. Apathy, oh well, nevermind.

    You have eyes of steel. 2GB transcripts?! I’d rather sell my own poo on ebay.

  18. Anonymous said,

  19. Anonymous said,

    (Ken is a legal academic)

  20. toto said,

    thanks for the link kent, that was a good read.

  21. Nimeton said,

    Indeed a very good read. Thanks.

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