June 22nd, 2008 at 02:14pm
If you think back three years to 2005and the height of the media excitement around the Schapelle Corby trial, almost everyone had an opinion on whether she was guilty of smuggling drugs or not, many of those opinions appeared to based on nothing more than a whim or whether she “looked like a drug smuggler”, A smaller number of opinions seemed to be based on selections of information presented at the trial and regurgitated by the media in a manner which would be impossible for an Australian based trial. Regardless of the opinions, the only person who really knew for sure was Schapelle Corby, for everyone else, it was a guess.
In the end, an Indonesian court found her guilty, and based on that, plus Schapelle’s body language of hitting herself on the head in a “why did I do something so stupid?” type of motion upon hearing the verdict, I formed the opinion that she probably was guilty. I don’t know for sure, but the evidence seems to fairly strongly indicate it in my mind.
Today, long after the story should have died, it still lingers and has returned to prominence with the revelation from one of Corby’s lawyers that he made up the whole “a baggage handler did it” defence:
SCHAPELLE Corby was in a Bali hospital under guard last night as a documentary revealed her ex-lawyer said Alexander Downer had suspected her family was behind her notorious crime.
The claim is made by Corby’s former defence lawyer, Robin Tampoe, in an explosive new documentary Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth.
The three-hour documentary screens tonight and Tuesday night on Channel 9.
In the documentary Mr Tampoe admits fabricating the defence that Australian baggage handlers could have planted the drugs in Corby’s luggage.
“Baggage handlers didn’t put drugs in the bag, nothing to do with it,” said Mr Tampoe, whom Corby sacked after she was sentenced to 20 years’ jail.
“Now she (Schapelle Corby) believes it. They all f—— believe it.
“It’s not true. That’s why you can’t put direct evidence relating to baggage handlers, ’cause they didn’t do it.
Mr Tampoe admitted in the documentary making up the theory after hearing ABC radio talkback in which callers discussed alleged corruption among airport staff. He no longer practises law.
He will face the Queensland Law Society next month over a misconduct complaint by Mercedes Corby.
Asked what he would say to the baggage handlers of Australia, Mr Tampoe says: “Sorry about that guys. Poor buggers. I won’t do it again. Thanks for the defence.”
If you think about it, the baggage handler theory was far fetched anyway. Illegal drugs are a rather valuable commodity and the people who take the risk of transporting it from one place to another in bulk amounts do so in a relatively controlled manner, they’re not going to “forget” to remove the drugs from a bag before shipping it overseas, and they’re not going to whack the illicit substance in some random bag that they may never see again. They’re going to know exactly where the bag is going, what it looks like, when it will get there, and how they’re going to get the substance out before anybody notices.
The inherent risks of transporting this stuff are too great to not take extreme care, admittedly mistakes will occur from time to time, but if the drugs in Corby’s bag had been planted by a baggage handler, there would have been at least a trace of suspicious activity by a baggage handler…but there wasn’t, so that defence fell flat on its face despite the media having a field day with it.
It’s unfortunate that this story is still dragging out and that everyone who has even a remote relationship with the Corby family seem to be doing their best to cash in on the saga. I have to wonder why we seem to be so content to make such a glorified spectacle of a convicted drug smuggler, and why the media think that her mental state, three years after her conviction, is of any interest to the general public. There are many people in Australian prisons who have mental health problems but we don’t make their plight a front-page news story…I don’t see any good reason for Schapelle Corby to receive media attention unless some amazing evidence comes to light showing that she is innocent, or (and I certainly don’t wish this on her) she dies, in which case she would deserve fleeting media attention as a person who was once in the public eye and is now no longer with us.
I don’t have the faintest clue why this story keeps getting a run in the media, perhaps somebody can enlighten me. Have I completely missed the point here? Does Schapelle deserve the attention? If so, why? And could it really be true that this story is so much more important than everything else going on in the world that it needs to be dragged up over and over and over every few months?
I just don’t get it. Unless I’ve completely missed something here and I’m looking at this from the perspective of another planet, I just can’t see any reason for the continued interest in the story. She was convicted, she is in prison, and her appeals failed; surely that should be a sign for the rest of us to move on.