Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chapelle Corby etc.

I feel I must write my views about this unfortunate state of events in Bali: When Chapelle was first arrested, her guilt started out as self evident. Her own piece of luggage under her control had the drugs in it. As it turns out over the course of the trial, considerable doubts are thrown up especially regarding motive and alternate theories as to how the "stuff" got to be in her possession. This throws up an intense dillemma for the Indonesian judiciary. If they find her not guilty due to reasonable doubt, there is a considerable loss of face (which can't be underestimated with SE Asian countries), not to mention likely copy-cat defendants riding with similar arguments. If they find her guilty, this may well irretrievably harm the Australian-Indonesian relationship, which seemed to be going rather well of late. However, with the arrest of the "Bali 9", there has been a considerable face-saver. Now the judiciary can afford to make an example of the Bali 9 (or at least the ringleaders) while being able to be maximally lenient (or find her outright not guilty) with Chapelle's case. I don't think that the arrest of the Bali 9 is a coincidence. The Australian Federal Police were well aware of the predicament of their relationship with the Indonesians. The final result may well be a win all round, with a considerable deterrent effect against the smuggling of drugs through a number of Asian areas, and a drop off of supplies to Australia, while allowing reason to prevail when there is "reasonable doubt".

5 comments:

Dr. Clam said...

I would hope that there is less of a dilemma for the judiciary than you postulate, since a cornerstone of any democracy is a non-politicised judiciary. The possible foreign policy implications should be of no concern to the judges: they should base their findings on the evidence and let the chips fall where the may.

It would be truly ridiculous- not to mention racist- for us to sacrifice millions of people in Aceh, the Moluccas, and Western New Guinea for the sake of a good working relationship with Indonesia, then throw it away over Schapelle.

Jenny said...

I've always assumed she was innocent. Beauty student jokes aside, how stupid would you have to be to take a drug from a country where it costs X and smuggle it to a country where it costs X - a lot...Assuming I have the economics of drug selling right, I'm speaking from a position of ignorance on the actual costs.

Marco said...

The problem with the Indonesian judiciary is not the politicization of it, but on the loss of face. The judiciary is not giving the reasonable doubts evidence enough weight because it has to look tough, to show strength against flimsy defences. To say that the judiciary has to take the evidence at face value denies the importance of these rulings in a country with such poor general policing. The loss of face issue is a more likely reason than politics for a biased judgement (in SE Asia). Having a parallel Australian case for comparison is helpful only to neutralise this bias. The judiciary is not going to be influenced much by foreign policy calculations. Dr. clam thinks it would be rediculous and racist, and I tend to agree, but I think it entirely possible, if not likely, for the relationship to turn bad just on the life of one person.

Anonymous said...

Jenny's comment assumes that the courts have never seen a defendant who has been somewhat stupid enough to get caught commiting their crime. In my view this is an unconvincing defence. The arguement that the drugs were worth less in Bali than Australia is a poor one as well. Five thousand dollars, possibly more depending on who it is sold to, is still a tidy sum to spend on 2 weeks holiday. Bad business planning and general stupidity are not the best arguements to put before a court.

Anonymous said...

4.2 kg @ $8000 kg minimum (much more at street prices)is a lot of money. They sell it to the boat operators and Aussie to Aussie on the street in Kuta - holidayers will buy from an Aussie as there is far less risk of being set up by the Police. So local price of dope does not even come into it. Its the same as the price as here in Aussie and a huge fat market cause tourists will pay a lot for a small amount. You would not buy a large amount due to the risk and the fact you cant use it all on a holiday. I'd say this had been going on for quite a while and continues to do so.