Monday, May 30, 2005

Schapelle Corby Case - Some less keen on the QCs?

Indonesian lawyer Erwin Siregar asked what could two Australian Queen’s Counsellors (QC’s) do in Indonesia, considering they can’t practise there, nor would they know the Indonesian law. He suggested that the Australian government would do Corby a better turn if it concentrates on obtaining fresh evidence instead of despatching the two QC’s.

He neglected to mention that those 2 Aussie QC’s have extensive legal connections with very experienced Indonesian lawyers, like the ones who successfully defended the JI leader, Bashir Ahmad. One of the QC's has sat on international legal panels which brings with him considerable understanding of the workings of foreign law, and better still, significant contacts in overseas legal world. Perhaps Siregar doesn’t even know what a QC is, in terms of legal knowledge, skill, experience, organisation and networking.

Most telling of all, Siregar's comments on the QC’s inability to practise there shows that he hasn't understood the 2 QC’s aren’t going to personally represent Corby in the Indonesian court - they are only for advice and guidance. Perhaps he may be concerned about these two taking over from what he must have considered to be his team's personal patch.

Siregar sounded rather ungracious when he said that it would be up to Corby herself to accept or reject the offer of the QC’s services.

But Corby’s Queensland solicitor Robin Tampoe has been more favourably disposed towards the government offer.

My personal take is the two QC’s with their Indonesian contacts will undoubtedly do a better job than the circus we have just seen over the last month, where the defence principal thrust was a non-productive ‘someone else must have done it’ and ‘she’s a good lassie’ rather than addressed the issue of the narcotics being found in Corby’s baggage.

The first argument was backed by hearsay evidence provided by a drug convict, and a series of out-of-court quarrelling, conducted over the media, with either the Australian government or the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, while the latter fell on the testimonies of a handwriting expert and a character-profiling criminologist.

I am not even going to mention the media campaign which had been utterly stupid and antagonistically counterproductive.

Aussie law experts have already analysed what Corby's defence team had failed to do - not focusing on the Indonesian neglect to take fingerprint evidence of the bag, not highlighting Corby’s inability to understand the Indonesian language where she could have misunderstood or been misunderstood by the Custom officer, etc. Whether these could have made a difference to Corby's case is now moot as the opportunity had already passed by.

But will Corby be briefed on the two QC’s availability for her, and who and what they are? That’s my worry!

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