"Judge not, lest ye be judged" The Corby case - can it happen in Australia?

David Field, Bond University

Document Type Journal Article

Field, David (2005), "Judge not, lest ye be judged" The Corby case - can it happen in Australia? The National Legal Eagle, October 2005, pp. 6-10.

Copyright ©The Law Society of New South Wales , 2005.

Reproduced with permission.



To the media contingent encamped both inside and outside the Denpasar courtroom, she was "doe-eyed" and "tearful". To the judges and court officials, she came across as a prize drama queen. To the millions of ordinary Australians absorbing what they could of the case vicariously through media releases, she was an ordinary, likeable Aussie girl caught up in a nightmare that could easily have been theirs. Trapped in a country whose language was alien, whose legal system was different, and whose attitude to drag smugglers seemed almost barbaric, Schapelle Corby brought to life a silent fear we have all experienced that of being falsely accused of something that we cannot conclusively prove that we did not do. Many Australians - while appalled by the eventual verdict have assumed that it occurred simply because the Indonesian law, and the legal system which enforces it, are in some way inferior to ours. In fact, there is more than a distinct possibility that were such an event to occur in Australia, the eventual legal outcome could wall be precisely the same, although the sentence passed would probably be less than the 20 years handed out to Schapelle Corby in Denpasar. What is more, it has already happened - in reverse - to a group of "innocent" Japanese tourists, in 1994, and we in Australia have nothing to feel superior about.