Sunday, May 29, 2005

Schapelle Corby Case - Which Expert to Listen to?

Professor Paul Wilson, a criminologist at Bond University testified as a defence witness for Schapelle Corby during the trials. He informed the Indonesian court that based on his experience as a criminologist, he was good at detecting deception. In the time he saw Corby he had ascertained that she was not lying nor deceiving.

His statements were laughed away by the Indonesians as devoid of any concrete evidence. The prosecutor stated that Professor Wilson had provided the court statements based solely on his instinct from just a short meeting with Corby.

The professor has not been deterred by criticisms of his contribution, and has now come forward again to offer further advice on Corby’s appeal. He believes Corby has a chance as new judges in the appeal could place more weight on the evidence of the defence team.

This is contrary to the advice of Tom Percy QC who has been enlisted by the Australian government to help Corby’s appeal. Percy stated what I have mentioned in an earlier posting, that an appeal could prove to be perilous to Corby. She could end up with her 20-year sentence extended to life in prison. Both the Indonesians and Corby’s defence team have also agreed that, while a remote possibility, she might even receive the death sentence in the appeal.

Additionally, Professor John Ingleson, an expert on Indonesian law and history at the University of NSW has a piece of advice on the appeal for the defence team. The appeal process shouldn't be just a matter of regurgitating old evidence. Ingleson pointed out that the judges had already, in their written judgement, made careful explanation of each and every piece of defence evidence. Thus, to ensure the appeal has any chance of success, new evidence has to be furnished. This is different to the picture painted by the criminologist professor who believed new judges in the appeal could place more weight on the (previous) evidence of the defence team.

The criminologist’s staunch defence of the Corby's defence team, including his praise of them again seemed to be at odds with law experts, who pointedly identified its lack of experience as a factor in Corby’s weak defence.

Who should Corby listen to, because her life may depend on it?

On one side, a Queen’s Counsel who is not only an expert on the finer points of criminal law and possesses vast experience in appeal applications, but also has extensive legal connections in Indonesia, and various Australian law experts inclduing Professors Ingleson and Lindsay?

Or,

A university criminologist whose advice and arguments appear to be at odds with the law experts?

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