One of the biggest news items in the past week has been the deportation of Schapelle Corby back to Australia from Bali. Once again her name has polarised Australians. Some people, like me, believe in her innocence and are thrilled that’s she’s now back on Australian soil. Others think she’s guilty and are not so happy. Maybe there’s a third category of people who just don’t care either way.
The arguments and discussions over Schapelle Corby are reminiscent of the details surrounding Lindy Chamberlain in the 1970s. Did she do it or did she not? Of course Lindy was found guilty of murder and her husband of helping her conceal the crime. She received a life sentence with no parole; he received a three-year suspended sentence. As we now know, there was a huge miscarriage of justice. Lindy Chamberlain served three years in jail until new evidence came to light and authorities realised they had been wrong (what if we had the death penalty back then?). The Chamberlains, exonerated by the royal commission in 1987, were pardoned and compensated.
I wonder if, in the years to come, we might learn that a similar miscarriage of justice has taken place regarding Schapelle Corby? Remember, Schapelle checked in her bag at Brisbane airport and neither she, nor her travelling companions, had any contact with it until after they arrived in Bali. Schapelle’s travelling companions’ luggage and Schapelle’s own luggage was never searched. There was no investigation into where or how Schapelle intended to sell the marijuana. The marijuana was never analysed and later it was destroyed, obliterating any chance it could be used to acquit her. There was no DNA or fingerprint analysis conducted.
To suggest that Schapelle got a strong smelling, pillow-case-sized bag of drugs through both Brisbane and Sydney airports undetected, bypass check-in staff, x-ray machines, scanners, sniffer dogs, police, customs and baggage handlers is very hard to believe. Over the years since Schapelle’s conviction there have been numerous reports of corruption amongst customs officials and baggage handlers at Sydney airport.
The other question that’s always concerned me is why would anyone take marijuana from Australia to Indonesia anyway? It doesn’t make any sense. The dope that was found in Schapelle’s boogie board (4.2kg) was worth around $25,000 in Australia but only $700 in Bali.
So where does this leave all the arguments and discussions? For those who think she’s guilty, that Schapelle has “done the crime,” then realise that she has also “done the time.” Serving nine years in “W” Block at Bali’s Kerobokan prison is enough time for the crime. That’s what the Indonesian authorities believed and that’s why they released her on parole in February 2014.
But if Schapelle is innocent then a great injustice has been committed, just like it was to the Chamberlains. My hope is that one day the truth will come to light and that Schapelle will be duly compensated for her loss – not that anyone can replace the nine years of her life she spent behind bars plus a further three years in Bali when no doubt she would have preferred to have been home in Australia. In the meantime let’s leave Schapelle alone to spend time with her family and friends and to learn to live once again in freedom.