Corby case - a few angles

It was hard not to be emotionally moved by the tsunami of coverage of the Schapelle Corby judgement that was delivered on Friday. Given that there are plenty of people around the world have are victim to far greater injustices than Corby, it seems a tad irrational to become so emotionally involved in this case. Perhaps it comes down to deep-seated prejudices - here was a young, attractive, Australian woman on trial - that mean we prioritise some people's suffering over others. Most likely, on a subconscious level we can all relate to Schapelle - she could be our sister, or our daughter, or in some parts of Tassie both at once. This might further explain the lack of Indonesian sympathy for her, since most Indonesians have trouble identifying with a 20-something fair-skinned boogie-boarding beauty therapy student.

A few observations about the past 48 hours:

- The Federal government has finally given formal assistance to Corby as she mounts her appeal. The question was asked, why was this assistance not given at an earlier stage? The answer: it was offered but not accepted, with Corby's appointed lawyers making the decision. One theory heard was that the original lawyers had stitched up media deals which required them to be the main legal representatives - for them to accept the Australian government lawyers would sacrifice the media deal and the money that went with it. If it's true, it's a scandal. If it's not, it's just another tale for the rumour mill.

- The media interest has bordered on the fanatical. The coverage on Friday was vast and expansive, in print, broadcast and electronic form. There seemed to be a shortage of material, particularly once the guilty verdict was given, with the same lines being rehashed over and over. Given the circumstances, it was a commendable effort, but the story was crying out for a sense of perspective and critical distance, which so far has been lacking.

- The appeals lodged by both prosecution and defence over the sentence are likely to leave the sentence just where it is. Without any new evidence coming to light, it's hard to see on what grounds a higher court with overturn Friday's verdict. The only thing that could change the outcome would be a conviction of a baggage handler at Brisbane or Sydney airport for planting the drugs in Corby's bag. Anything less is unlikely to sway an appeal court.

- The appeal for clemency from SBY might have more success. (A much smarter move now, post-verdict, then it was a fortnight ago when Corby poured her heart out to SBY.) If the stories about the corruptability of the Indonesian judicial system are correct, then it may prove to be of benefit to Corby recieving clemency. The backlash against all things Indonesian amongst Australians is likely to be strong and prolonged, and political considerations such as this are likely to influence the president. Such is the nature of corruption that a tactic has a real chance of succeeding. All this needs to be balanced, of course, against the considerable anti-drug feeling amongst Indonesians, who are likely to object to percieved special treatment for a convicted drug courier.

It'll be interesting to see whether this degree of compassion continues when the case of the Bali Nine is heard. Given the differences in the two cases, my hunch is that people will be a lot more hard-hearted toward the Nine, who seem far more responsible for their own circumstances than does Corby. The irony is that with a quality legal team and more information about the source of the drugs, most in the Bali Nine might be in a good position to construct a defence. The question is who will be the fall guy (or girl)?

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Picture thanks to the Foreign Priosoner Support Service


Anonymous said…
I know it's really shallow of me, but her eyebrows bug me. Why would you pluck them so damn thin? And she a beauty therapist, tsk!

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