Last updated: 17 June 2005
Schapelle is packing to
go to Bali to celebrate Sister Mercedes birthday; her father Michael is
present as she packs. A plastic strip is missing from the boogie board
and Michael fixes the strip, and is present when the boogie board goes
into the bag. Michael Corby states ‘She didn't have the bloody things’
Schapelle leaves for
mother Ros’ house picking up Richards on the way. The four traveling
companions Katrina Richards, Ally McComb, James (Schapelles brother)
stay the night at Ros’ so she can drive them to the airport.
The travelers wake, in
the garage as they are about to leave Ally gave Schapelle a pair of
flippers she had borrowed, McCombs, Richards and James all gave
testimony that they seen Schapelle open the Boogie board bag and place
the flippers inside. They all stated that the garage was brightly lit
and the Yellow boogie board was the only item in the bag.
Closed circuit cameras
observe Schapelle and her female companions checked in their luggage 3
suitcases and the boogie board bag at Brisbane airport. All the bags
are weighed together and total 65 kgs. (This is crucial to the case,
but Bali customs and police ignored this). Images recorded on the
camera were deleted 25 days later, and the cameras were not working
Flight leaves for Sydney.
Arrive at Sydney
airport, change to International terminal where the group meets up with
friend Jodie Powers who is catching a later flight to Bali to celebrate
Group leaves Sydney
International airport for Bali, Schapelle tells Jodie they will see her
at the pool at 5pm in Bali for a drink.
Bali time (4.30 EST)
Plane arrives at Ngurah
Rai Airport, Denpasar. The boogie bag is set aside from the other bags,
which are on the carousel and as Schapelle is struggling with luggage,
Ally asked James is asked to assist with the bags. James a weight
lifter and rugby player claims he did not notice anything about the bag
as he was just glad the plane hadn’t crashed.
Most people were
getting their luggage checked. The customs officer asked James if it
was his Boogie board, James said yes, but Schapelle said ‘No It’s
mine’. Schapelle placed the boogie board bag on the counter and opened
the zip. She noticed that the zip was done up in the middle of the bag,
which she thought was strange as she always did the zip up to one side.
Upon opening the bag Schapelle instantly seen something in the bag.
Inside the bag on top
of the yellow boogie bag and under the flippers was 4.1 kilograms
marijuana in two plastic bags, one inside the other, the size of a
pillow case. The outer bag was a vacuum space bag.
James was taken to an
interview room while Schapelle waited outside. James was ordered to
remove the contents of the bag. Schapelle was bought into the room
where the contents of the bag were on the floor, she was shocked.
Schapelle admitted owning the bag, the boogie board and the flippers.
She insisted she had no idea who owned the drugs and were they came
from McComb was allowed to join them about 30 minutes later and was
also shocked at what she seen in the interview room.
Katrina Richards called
Mercedes, who spoke to a police officer. Mercedes then went to the
airport, where custom officers were trying to get Schapelle to sign a
statement. Mercedes warned her not to sign anything. Mercedes,
Schapelle and McComb were insisting that custom officer’s stop handling
the bag and take fingerprints. The officers said it was too late as it
had been contaminated, the officials laughed at Mercedes.
Two hours after Corby
was detained, customs were aware that there were four baggage tags in
her name. The bags were only a few metres away, with Katrina Richards,
who was anxiously guarding them. No attempt was made to search or weigh
the bags, even though Corby demanded it. Later, when Corby had lawyers,
it was too late. The bags had left the airport.
James and Schapelle
were taken to a police cell were they were given fish and rice to eat,
they were told to go to sleep.
for this Information
The 7:30 Report 28/04/2005 *Interview
with Schapelle & Michael Corby
14, 2004 *Interview with
Schapelle & Ros Corby
The Sydney Morning
Herald March 5, 2005 * Well worth the quick sign up form to read for more
detailed information on the events that lead upto the arrival at Bali.
March 5, 2005
13 March 2005
The 7:30 Report 21/04/2005
Sydney Morning Herald (Click
here for full story)
Holes in the argument
the outset, the customs officers neglected four basic investigative
handled the outside drug bag with unprotected hands, taking no
precautions against contaminating the only item of evidence. They
handled the bottom of the internal bag when they took out the marijuana.
McComb and then Mercedes, when she got to the airport interview room,
protested, demanding the bags be fingerprinted. They got the same
reply. "Too late. Too many people have touched them." Mercedes said she
replied: "Well, stop it right now." They laughed at her.
Corby's lawyer, Lily Sri Rahaya Lubis, and her assistant, Vasu Rasiah,
insist that most of the bag that actually contained the drugs was still
clean because it had not been removed from the external bag. Only the
bottom of the internal bag had been handled.
fingerprint evidence is basic and important. If Corby's prints are on
either bag, she is condemned. But if they are not, it is strong
evidence for the defence, although not conclusive. Corby told the
lawyers to press hard. "They won't find my fingerprints," she said.
late December, almost three months after Corby's arrest and after
repeated requests to have the evidence fingerprinted, the lawyers
confronted the director of the Bali narcotics bureau, Senior
Commissioner Bambang Sugiarto, who was in charge of the investigation.
had the bags brought to his office in Lubis's presence. "He confirmed
the inside bag had not been removed. He said he would have it
fingerprinted," Lubis said. But still it was not done.
says the bag remained uncontaminated when it went to the prosecutor
with other evidence on January 6.
that changed on February 3, when Corby made her second court
appearance. In front of the three judges, the internal drug bag was
taken out of the external bag and handled freely by a number of court
officials, including customs officer Winata, prosecutor Wiswantanu and
assistant judge I Gusti Lanang Dauh.
the close of court that day, the frustrated defence lawyers made a
formal application to have the bags fingerprinted. Chief Judge Linton
Sirait said he would consider it. "There's still plenty of time," he
said. Two court sittings later, the lawyers are still waiting for his
decision. Even now, they insist, it is not too late.
second basic procedure was overlooked at the airport. Two hours after
Corby was detained, customs were aware that there were four baggage
tags in her name. The bags were only a few metres away, with Katrina
Richards, who was anxiously guarding them.
moment Corby claimed that the marijuana had been put into boogie board
bag during transit, the weight of the bags became crucial evidence. If
the bags weighed 4.1 kilograms - the weight of the marijuana - more in
Bali than they did in Brisbane when they were checked in, then she was
telling the truth. If the weights were the same, she was lying.
attempt was made to search or weigh the bags, even though Corby
demanded it. Later, when Corby had lawyers, it was too late. The bags
had left the airport. The prosecution made no mention of this or of the
failure to take fingerprints.
third overlooked procedure is even more basic. The customs area at
Ngurah Rai Airport is monitored by closed circuit cameras, which
observed Corby's actions. They could corroborate or contradict her
account. But the prosecutor said they were not checked. The defence has
asked to see the tapes. The prosecutor said he would check to see if
they were available.
was a fourth failure. The X-ray machine that detected the marijuana is
not equipped to take photographs. So no image was available to show the
location of the marijuana in the boogie board bag before it got to
prosecution closed its case on February 17. It relies entirely on
indisputable evidence that the marijuana was found in Corby's boogie
board bag and on the contested testimony of two customs officers and
two police officers about her actions and responses.
English-language proficiency was not established and will be
challenged. Corby insists her responses were misunderstood. She says
his English was not good and they had difficulty understanding each
other. McComb, who also spoke to Winata that day, says the same.
What the defence team argued
| (continued from above Sydney Morning Herald (Click here for full story)
if Corby was smuggling the drugs into Bali, did she not take the basic
precaution of putting a lock on her boogie board bag?
did she not take another obvious precaution and put the drugs behind
the boogie board, which would have concealed them from anyone opening
the bag? Instead, they were in front of the boogie board, visible the
moment the bag was opened.
did she not try to conceal the contents of the plastic bags by giving
them a protective wrapping? Instead, the marijuana is easily visible
through clear plastic.
would anyone risk a death sentence smuggling marijuana from Australia
to Bali, where it will sell for much less than they could get in
Australia? This is not only the biggest marijuana importation into Bali
intercepted by customs. It is the only one.
is the police evidence that Corby or any of her family had connections
with drug traffickers? Bali police say they investigated her "network"
in Bali - meaning Mercedes and her husband - but found nothing
Australian Federal Police confirm Corby has no criminal record.
Queensland police have no intelligence to connect her to drugs. The
wholesale price for good quality hydroponic marijuana in Brisbane is
$4000 for half a kilogram. Where did a woman who works in a fish and
chip shop get the money to buy 4.1kilograms?
defence will argue that the marijuana was put in the boogie board bag
in Brisbane by a corrupt employee with "airside" access, most likely
for pick-up in Sydney, where the street price is $65,000, by another
corrupt worker with access. But the pick-up was somehow missed - tight
security, watchful baggage handlers, bad timing - and the marijuana
travelled on to Bali. Or it is possible, the defence will argue, that
the drugs were placed in the wrong bag on the wrong flight.
will argue that the positioning of the marijuana in front of the boogie
board indicates it was inserted in haste during transit.
will argue that whoever planted the drugs was responsible for changing
the zipper arrangement, zipping the bag from both sides, meeting in the
middle. And that when customs opened and shut the boogie board bag,
they carefully repeated this procedure to conceal their intrusion.
problem is the defence can establish a lot of doubt but no absolute
proof. From the outset, prosecutor Wiswantanu insisted that the only
way he would accept that Corby was innocent was proof - visual or by
weight - that the marijuana was not in the boogie board bag when she
checked it in at Brisbane Airport. Or visual evidence of someone
putting the drugs in the boogie board bag.
chance of getting that evidence has gone. The security camera tapes
which might have helped - the prosecution as well as the defence - have
been wiped. The luggage was not weighed in Bali.
says the tapes were wiped on November 2, two weeks before they received
a letter from the lawyers officially requesting copies. After the
letter, dated November 16, Qantas got forensic experts to see if any
images could be recovered but this was not successful.
Corby's lawyers say their first request for the tapes was made on
October 14, six days after Corby's arrest, and was repeated a number of
lawyers say that in the last week of October, the Qantas security
official told them the tapes were going to be destroyed within a week.
On October 28, they sent the security official an email, noting this,
and requesting copies of the tapes before they were wiped. This did not
Wiswantanu is demanding the death penalty. He has successfully
prosecuted six foreigners for importing drugs. One of them got the
death penalty. Corby is fighting for her life.
here for full story)
of Corby's chief lawyers, Erwin Siregar, asked the two police officer
witnesses, Wayan Suwita and I Gusti Ngurah Bagus Astawa, why no
fingerprints had been taken from the ziplock plastic sack inside the
bodyboard bag. Suwita answered: "We knew it was marijuana, so it wasn't
necessary." Siregar pointed out that the crime of drug smuggling
potentially carried the death penalty and asked if that made a "perfect
investigation" more important.
not my duty to answer that," Suwita replied. "Ask my superior." Astawa
also said he did not know whether fingerprints were taken. "It's not my
field," he explained. Asked whether fingerprints were necessary in
Corby's case, he replied, "No."
is not a common procedure in Indonesia, where the under-resourced
police force is hard-pressed to deal with burgeoning crime.
defence, though, submitted transcripts of television footage showing
gloved police officers dealing with the nine Australians recently
arrested for heroin smuggling in Bali. Why gloves for the Bali Nine and
not for Schapelle, came the question from the defence.
transcript of an Indonesian TV interview with Bali drug squad chief
Bambang Sugiarto was also tendered to the court by the defence after
the closing addresses. Sugiarto said Corby's "condition" was only 50
per cent, apparently referring to shortcomings in the fingerprinting
and videotaping elements of the investigation.
the defence's queries about the failure to fingerprint the plastic sack
of marijuana, prosecutor Ni Wayan Sinaryati told the court it was
this case, the criminal perpetrator was caught red-handed by the
Customs officers at the airport," Sinaryati said.
defence was also unable to prove the weight of Corby's bag when she
checked in at Brisbane airport, since all the bags were weighed
together and police in Bali did not weigh all the bags for an overall
comparison. Nor did Balinese police take up an AFP request to test the
marijuana to determine its origin; there was no need, they said, they
already had a case.
Photo's of the bag
(Copyright of their respective owners)
| Below are photos
of Schapelle's boogie board bag found with the drugs in them.
How can you help?
The Corbys have
received advice from their legal team and have asked for Schapelles
supporters to cease all fundraising activities, donation collection,
rallies and protests from this point on.
The bottom line is we
need to respect this decision and understand that we must comply to
help ensure both the safety of Schapelle and also the positive outcome
of her appeal.
While it may seem that
this is the end of road - it most certainly is not. There are still
many things you can do to support Schapelle and show you believe she is
Email Prime Minister
John Howard and express your concerns not only for Schapelle but for
the slack security measures in place at airports in Australia:
You can write to your
local Member of Parliament; and your Federal Member of Parliament to
voice your support for her plight. Please always remember to be
respectful when you make contact.
The contact email
addressees for these members can be found here:
You can also directly
support Schapelle by sending your letters and cards to her. I advise
against emailing as it is very difficult to get them to her.
Below is quoted from
Kay Danes from Foreign Prisoner Support Service, advocating on behalf
of the Corby family.
would be helpful if all supporters would address their letters directly
to Schapelle and not electronically or via Mercedes whom I spoke with
last night [Sat 4 June 2005]. Whilst the family appreciate all the
emails and letters, they simply cannot cope with the logistical aspects
the influx of emails creates.
is imperative that letters be respectful to both the Indonesian justice
system and to the Kerobokan Prison authorities. It is good public
relations and will help the rapport that Schapelle needs to establish
with those detaining her. I would go so far as to include text "Thank
you to the Kerobokan Staff for allowing me to send letters to Schapelle
and care packages can be sent to Schapelle:
Corby C/- LPM Kerobokan
have been to Kerobokan prison on a number of occasions as both friend
to Schapelle and FPSS advocate. I can confirm that mail and items do
get through to the prisoners. Prisoners are called into a room where
they are handed unopened mail. The prisoner is then invited to open the
mail in front of the officers. In general, the prisoner receives
everything that is sent, including money inside the envelope. But as a
general process, prisoners may share some items as a show of good will
to prison staff. This is common in post prisons around the world. Just
be sure to itemize everything you send.
Prisoner Support Service would like to thank everyone for their
continued support to Schapelle and consideration to the Corby Family's
request for privacy.