Monday, May 16, 2005

Schapelle Corby - A Study in Unhelpful Media Frenzy

The Schapelle Corby case is hotting up in Australia. The Australian media is frothing at the mouth, with condemnation of the inaction of the Australian Federal government. The government had explained that it couldn’t interfere with the judiciary of a foreign sovereign country, but has finally succumb to the intense domestic pressure that the Australian media has whipped up to ‘save’ a beautiful Australian woman at the mercy of the worst Australian nightmare, an Indonesian court.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I believe the Indonesian government has already obliged the Australian government by not demanding a death sentence as originally was to be the case. The maximum sentence now is a life sentence, but that’s still not good enough for the Australian media and some members of the public. They won’t wait for the verdict (it could well be 'not guilty').

No, they demand that Corby be virtually declared innocent immediately.

As also mentioned in my previous blog, the Indonesians may just dig in deep if they sense Australian official interference. In fact, officers of the Indonesian courts criticised Prime Minister John Howard for instructing his Foreign Ministry to provide Corby's defence team with a letter for the Indonesian court detailing an Australian Police investigation into a smuggling ring involving airport baggage handlers at Sydney Airport.

The Indonesians feel that the Australian PM may be trying to influence the decision of the Indonesian court. The Indonesian prosecutor said the Australian letter has no legal standing in the Corby case, and the presiding judge has already pointedly dismissed the PM’s letter as irrelevant.

This spells bad news for the defence in terms of mounting anger among the Indonesian judiciary. Australian Prime Minister John Howard is so worried that aggressive Australian attitude and unreasonable demands for Corby to be freed may be harmful to her standing that he has cautioned the Australian public to keep out of the Corby's case, but his advice has been ignored.

Apart from that, the Australian media has also ripped into Federal Police Chief Mike Keelty, a highly respected officer with impeccable integrity and admirable professionalism (and very much liked by his Indonesian counterparts), for allegedly bearing a vendetta against Corby when he, Keelty, dismissed a suggestion that she was blissfully ignorant of being used as a mule (drug courier) after Corby was caught with more than 4 kilograms of marijuana in her bag.

The defence team was further infuriated by Keelty's statement that there was no link between the Corby case and a cocaine smuggling ring busted recently that had involved airport handlers. They had wanted some links, no matter how tenuous, with any smuggling activities at airports to support their defence that Corby was an innocent mule, exploited without her knowledge.

The reality has been that Mike Keelty made specific statements objecting to wild allegations about Australian Police failing in its duties in the Corby arrest, and in his statement of clarification to defend his men, was condemned by the defence team and media as indicative of his alleged vendetta against Corby.

Their desperate and wild swinging accusations are more damaging than helpful as the Indonesians would be deeply offended by scurrilous insinuations about their judgement and integrity.

As I mentioned in the previous post on the Schapelle Corby case:

Hell is paved with good intentions. And these idiots know diddly squat (f***all) about Indonesian mores, feelings and pride!

Related posting:
Unhelpful Extra-Legal Support for Schapelle Corby

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