Trafficking epidemic - Corby family seeks out Aussie airport drug-smuggling evidence
by Tony Wilson

THE Corby family is astounded at the sheer volume of drug trafficking that has been exposed at Australian airports and hopes it will lead to Schapelle’s freedom. Schapelle’s sister, Mercedes, said yesterday that the family was hearing of, and discovering, more and more drug-related corruption at most airports across the country.

Speaking after a lengthy legal interview involving herself, her mother Rosleigh Rose, Jakartabased celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea and prominent Bali lawyer Erwin Siregar, Mercedes said the legal team was confident that the plethora of Australian airport drug trafficking would add weight to the reasonable-doubt angle that was the keystone of the High Court appeal.

‘‘We are confident that one of two retired Victorian police officers will give evidence about another former police officer,’’ she said. The former Victorian officer is alleged to have a history of marijuana growing and works in security at Melbourne airport.

One of this security worker’s associates, Jeffrey Robert Milne, 41, was in charge of Ansett baggage handlers at the airport in June, 2000, when he was arrested for drug trafficking.

Milne, 41, had been in charge of a drug warehouse for slain Victorian underworld figure Mark Moran, and had drug couriers smuggle amphetamines through Melbourne airport to Perth in 2000.

Mercedes said they were also hopeful of persuading a senior NSW police officer, who is an expert in Australian airport crime, to testify. Detective Chief Inspector Jason Breton wrote a 35-page report for the NSW Premier’s Department on the level of organised crime at Sydney airport, which was scathing about the lack of security there. The legal team is also speaking to a Qantas security officer from Brisbane airport who has written to the family, offering to help Schapelle with her testimony.

‘‘It would be very useful if the Federal Government could offer an official to tell the court the truth about our airports. It’s not as though they can pretend it doesn’t exist when it is all over the media,’’ said Mercedes.

‘‘The lawyers have told us that it carries more weight in the Indonesian legal system if it comes from a government employee with some seniority. They are also going to see if the court will allow me to testify about how I asked for the two bags – containing the 4.1kg of marijuana that someone planted in Schapelle’s unlocked boogieboard bag – to be fingerprinted, which never happened, and how Customs officers and police allowed me to take all the other bags home without even a glance at them or their contents.’’

Mr Hutapea said they would ask for a two-week adjournment after tomorrow’s hearing, to have time to organise the Australian witnesses.

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Mystery caller on Corby’s drug bag
by Tony Wilson

A MYSTERY caller to Schapelle Corby’s legal team could be the key to her release.

In a dramatic development on the eve of Ms Corby’s trial being reopened in the Denpasar court, Balinese lawyer Erwin Siregar says the man made an international phone call to the legal team yesterday afternoon to say there was ‘someone’ who knew who put the 4.1kg of marijuana in Ms Corby’s boogie-board bag.

But Mr Siregar said the caller, whom he thought phoned from Australia, said the person with the information was not prepared to come forward unless immunity was granted.

The lawyer said he hoped the Australian Government would therefore reconsider their position on granting immunity. Ms Corby was being strong for her family during the countdown to the court appearance today. Her mother, Rosleigh Rose, said she spent time alone with the 28-year-old in Kerobokan jail yesterday morning.

‘‘Schapelle kept saying to me ‘it’ll be fine, Mum’ and she was being strong for me again, but we all know it will be a very hard day,’’ she said.

Ms Corby’s sister, Mercedes, said getting witnesses to testify had become a frustrating exercise. ‘‘A Sydney police officer, Detective Chief Inspector Jason Breton, whose report on Sydney airport is really damning, told me yesterday through another officer that he had nothing to offer,’’ she said.

‘‘A Qantas security officer based at Brisbane airport who said in a letter that she wrote to the family that security there was so lax that she could take a gun through the airport was just lukewarm when I spoke to her and then the phone dropped out and it has been switched off since. ‘‘Even Melbourne couple Steve and Dee, who came to Bali and found compressed marijuana in their suitcase in 1997 and were told by the Australian Consulate to throw the drugs away, are having troubles yet they are keen to testify.

‘‘Even though the drugs weren’t theirs and were planted like the 4.1kg of marijuana found in Schapelle’s unlocked boogieboard bag, they can’t get immunity in Australia and the Indonesian Government never grants it, according to Hotman (Paris Hutapea, the high-profile leader of Ms Corby’s legal team).

‘‘If they come to Bali they could be charged with bringing drugs into the country.

‘‘Even the Bali drug squad boss, Colonel Bambang Sugiarto, who told Bali TV that his investigators could not complete their investigation because the evidence was tainted, may not be allowed by his superiors to give evidence today.’’

This would leave the only definite witness today as Jakarta law professor Indriyanto Seno Adji.

Mr Hutapea and Mr Siregar plan to ask for a two-week adjournment. They hope to have some Australian witnesses – including a retired Victorian police officer – for early August.

Mr Hutapea said if the Bali High Court refused to grant an adjournment he would attempt to have the case moved to the Supreme Court in Jakarta.

‘‘But I’m hopeful they will give us the adjournment,’’ he said.

Schapelle scoffs at ‘escape risk’ claim amid fallout from media stalking
by Tony Wilson in Bali

A BEMUSED Schapelle Corby says she has no intention of scaling the walls and fleeing Bali’s notorious Kerobokan jail.

Ms Corby angrily rejected a weekend report claiming prison authorities considered her an escape risk. ‘‘If you believe all the media reports about me, I’ve been frequently suicidal, pregnant, and now I’m about to become an escapee,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s just so stupid. Why would I consider such a thing when my legal team believes that I can gain my freedom from this appeal? It’s obviously another case of the media having nothing real to write about, so they’ve just asked some loaded questions and turned the whole thing into yet another work of fiction involving me.’’

She said her lawyers had spoken to prison governor Bromo Setyono over last week’s stalking incident involving media.

‘‘At no stage was there any suggestion that they considered me to be at risk of escaping or trying to escape,’’ she said.

‘‘I mean you only have to think it through logically. If I got out and I don’t know how I would do that, where would I go?

‘‘I have no passport, and sadly for all the wrong reasons, I would be one of the most recognised people around Bali . . . the whole thing is just total rubbish.’’ Ms Corby also scoffed at media comments that she had avoided a parliamentary delegation during last week’s stalking affair.

‘‘I did not know they were in the prison. All I saw initially was this large media pack running at me and stalking me,’’ she said.

‘‘After I hid and tried to get away from the media, two of these people from the committee came into the room where the guards had taken me and they just stood there and stared at me.

‘‘They never said a single word and after a while I yelled at them saying ‘what are you staring at?’

‘‘So at no stage did I have any idea who they were or what they were doing there.’’ Ms Corby said she was very happy with the way her new legal team had prepared for Wednesday’s hearing in the Bali District Court.

‘‘They even have a top law professor from Jakarta to give evidence and he strongly supports my case,’’ she said. Ms Corby is not fazed about having to face the same three District Court judges who handed down the 20-year sentence amid dramatic televised scenes in the court on May 27.

She had been found guilty of having 4.1kg of marijuana in her unlocked boogie-board bag on October 8 last year at Bali Airport.

‘‘I don’t hate the judges or anything like that even though I naturally believe they got it wrong, and this time I hope the High Court judges will look at my case differently and my innocence will shine through,’’ she said.

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