Saturday, May 28, 2005

Schapelle Corby Case - Further Observations

From Australian TV, I made three additional observations on the Schapelle Corby’s case, post-verdict.

(1) The relatively inexperienced defence lawyer. While she was undoubtedly passionate in her commitment to Corby, her noticeable lack of experience with Western media has led her, I thought, perilously close to contempt of court. In fact, even though not a lawyer, I assessed that in the last few seconds before the TV shot of her was cut off by another scene she might have even crossed that professional line.

When asked her opinion of the verdict, instead of stating a more professional response that the defence was not satisfied as some vital isssues had not been adequately addressed, blah blah blah, and would be making an appeal, she became emotional and, provoked by the TV journalists, succumbed to her mounting anger and frustration at the judges. I think I might just have heard her questioned the impartiality of the judges, but I hope I am mistaken - more for Corby's future standing.

But then the inexperience of the defence legal team in Denpasar had been pinpointed as one possible factor in Corby’s downfall. Read this analysis of the Corby’s legal defence by Professor Tim Lindsey, professor of Asian law at Melbourne University.

(2) There is a fallacy that the European legal system, which the Indonesian subscribes to, assumes that an accused is guilty until proven innocent, unlike the British legal justice system which assumes innocence until guilt has been proven.

There is in fact no difference, with both legal systems subscribing to the presumption of innocence. The false belief has been a consequence of ignorance or racist bias, where in the past, all systems French (or European) were considered as inferior or questionable. I recall that as a young lad, my Malaysian British-trained school teacher would sneeringly refer to the ‘dubious’ French law. Reading through the Australian papers, it seems one obviously less learned academician also think so.

(3) The Australians are one of the most generous and warm-hearted people in the world, responding to all sorts of crisis throughout the world with concerned alacrity and great charity. Their recent contribution to the tsunami aid relief had been overwhelming, to complement the Australian government’s equally generous and bountiful donation.

Yet, it has been disappointing to see that recently some of them tied such donations to the Schapelle Corby’s case. Prior to her verdict, there had been shameful shouts from some people for the government to withhold or reduce the aid. Now that the verdict is known, such calls have become even more strident.

The antic by one of Corby’s male friends outside the Denpasar courtroom was what Malaysians would termed as pretty ‘low-level’, or embarrassingly crude. He read openly and aggressively from a prepared script addressed to the Indonesian President, reminding him of Aussie tsunami aid and the death in an air crash of 9 Aussie service people involved in the relief in Sumatra, and that SBY ought to reciprocate such Aussie generosity and sacrifice with regards to Corby.

Apart from publicly insulting the Head of State of the country that holds Corby in their prison system, he didn’t realise the extent of the harm and ill will his rednecked behaviour can instead bring to Corby.

Additionally, there is an Asian saying, perhaps of Chinese origin, that a donor diminishes enormously the spiritual and moral value of an act of charity if he or she publicises the donation. How much more has the moral value of Australian donation being diminished by his crude and exploitative demand for a quid pro quo? He also demeaned the sacrifice of those service people by his shameful demand.

The fact that it was a prepared script, obviously to be read if the verdict went against Corby, makes his statement totally inexcusable.

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