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Schapelle Corby's sentence reinstated to 20 years
PM - Thursday, 19 January , 2006 - Reporter: Tim Palmer

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: In breaking news, the ABC has been told by a number of officials in the Jakarta Supreme Court that the convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby's final appeal has failed and her sentence has been increased from 15 years back to the original 20 set by the Denpasar District Court last year.

Joining me on the line now is our Indonesia Correspondent Tim Palmer.

Tim, what have you heard?

TIM PALMER: What I can tell you, and we have since seen the documents sent from Indonesia's highest court, the Supreme Court in Jakarta, to Denpasar's District Court, I can tell you that the appeal was decided a week ago today and that in fact Schapelle Corby's appeal not only failed, but the prosecutor's counter appeal succeeded. And that Schapelle Corby having had her sentence pared back from the original 20 years given to her in Denpasar last year to 15 years, after the Denpasar High Court first appeal, has now had that reversed.

That case has been cancelled, struck out by the highest court in the land, and she's been returned and now faces 20 years in a Balinese prison once again.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Tim, where does this leave the Corby defence now?

TIM PALMER: Well unless they can mount some argument to reopen the case, or have a retrial on the basis of evidence, this is, pretty much, the final avenue of appeal for Schapelle Corby.

At this stage, it is more likely that it is time for Schapelle Corby's family probably, to start examining avenues such as a prisoner transfer scheme if she wanted to return to Australia, if the Australian Government does negotiate such things.

The standard range of judicial options for Schapelle Corby is pretty much exhausted at this stage.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Okay, Tim Palmer, thank you very much for your time.

  • Schapelle Corby Case Information

  • Corby faces full 20 years' jail
    By Michael McKenna and Sian Powell - January 20, 2006

    Family ties ... Corby with her half-brother James Kisina in Bali.
    SCHAPELLE Corby has had her original 20-year sentence reinstated as her half-brother appeared in a Queensland court to face allegations he was involved in drug smuggling.

    James Sioeli Kisina - who was with Corby when she was caught at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport in October 2004 carrying 4.1kg of marijuanna in a bodyboard bag - was arrested after a home invasion on Tuesday night in Brisbane's south.

    He is alleged to have beaten a couple, who are said to be suspected drug dealers. His lawyer claimed that his client acted in the hope of forcing them to reveal information that could clear his sister.

    Mr Kisina, 18, and two others, including his cousin Shane John Tilyard, 19, were arrested at the Corby family home in Loganlea, just outside Brisbane, where bags of marijuanna were allegedly found next to coffee jars.

    In a brief hearing yesterday, defence lawyer Stefan Simms told the Southern District's Magistrates Court that Mr Kisina broke into the home, having allegedly learnt its residents were well-known drug dealers and believing they could have information that might help free his sister.

    "The situation is the guy is 18; he thought that if he approached people who (he alleged) had connections to drugs he could in some way obtain information which might assist with his sister's case," Mr Simms said outside court. "I can only say it was misguided."

    The residents, a man and woman, were allegedly tied and beaten with an iron bar by Mr Kisina and one of his co-accused, Matthew James Ratumaitavuki, 20, before the defendants allegedly stole their drugs.

    In an affidavit presented to the court, arresting officer Detective Sergeant Dean Godfrey also alleged that Mr Kisina - who was remanded in custody on eight charges including assault, deprivation of liberty and drug possession and production - was "suspected of some involvement in the exportation of cannabis".

    Mr Simms said his client denied "the majority of the offences in their current format" and there was no evidence to support the smuggling allegations.

    "He was extremely upset since realisation dawned that this could in some way detrimentally impact on his sister's case," Mr Simms said outside court.

    The Indonesian Supreme Court yesterday announced it had increased the jail sentence of Corby, 28, to 20 years. The decision overturned a successful appeal to Bali's High Court last year that reduced her original jail term of 20 years to 15 years.

    Supreme Court criminal division chief clerk Zaroef Richard said the latest decision had been made on January 12.

    "The conclusion of the verdict (is) that it returns to the decision of the Denpasar Court - that is, 20 years," Mr Richard said.

    The arrest of Mr Kisina had an immediate effect on Corby's legal fight, with her high-profile lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea, yesterday saying he was considering quitting. "I am very frustrated in the handling of the Corby case," he said. "The arrest of the Corby brother and Corby's picture with the drug trafficker has ruined this case."

    He was referring to photographs showing Corby with an Adelaide man charged with trafficking 15kg of cannabis. Corby's family has insisted the pictures were taken in Kerobokan jail.

    At Mr Kisina's home, the partner of Corby's mother Rosleigh Rose denied the 18-year-old was involved in drugs.

    "I don't know about this plan to help Schapelle, the first time I ever heard about it was in court," he said, refusing to be named.

    Mr Kisina is one of two children Corby's mother had with Tongan-born James Kisina. Ms Rose has six children from three relationships.

    Double blow for Corby
    Cindy Wockner in Denpasar, Bali - 20jan06

    FAMILY woes . . . Schapelle Corby and her half-brother James Kisina. The Jakarta Supreme Court has reinstated Corby's initial 20-year jail term for drug smuggling, and Kisina was yesterday remanded in custody at Beenleigh court on drug and other charges. Lower picture courtesy Channel 9.
    GOLD Coast drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has lost her final appeal and had her initial sentence of 20 years' imprisonment reinstated.

    Indonesia's highest court – the Supreme Court in Jakarta – also ordered the evidence destroyed, signalling that the case was now closed.

    The decision was made a week ago by the Supreme Court but had yet to be relayed to Bali or be made public, sources in Jakarta said.

    Corby's sentence had been reduced to 15 years after she appealed to the Denpasar High Court in Bali.

    But the prosecution appealed to Jakarta, and the Supreme Court decision declares Corby "legally and convincingly proven to be guilty of committing the crime of importing narcotic, class one".

    It reinstates the 20-year jail term with a $14,000 fine, or a further six months' jail if the fine cannot be paid.

    Corby, 28, was arrested at Denpasar Airport in October 2004 with 4.1kg of marijuana in a boogie board bag after flying from Australia.

    The bag was unlocked from the time she checked in at Brisbane Airport to the time she arrived in Bali.

    She claimed not to know about the drugs, and defence lawyers said she was the victim of a drug-running network possibly involving Australian airport staff.

    The Supreme Court document declares that the evidence – the boogie board bag and drugs – should be destroyed.

    The Supreme Court news will be a double blow to Corby after her half-brother James Kisina, 18, appeared in court at Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, yesterday on drugs charges.

    Kisina was on the plane with Corby on the day she flew to Bali, and had been carrying the boogie board bag before the arrest.

    News of Kisina's arrest broke in Bali before the decision on Corby's appeal was known. Initially, some members of Corby's legal team had speculated her brother's arrest might be used to restate the argument that the drugs were not hers.

    Corby's Bali-based lawyer Erwin Siregar said: "If there is a sentence to say that James is guilty in this case and if there is an affidavit from James to say that the boogie board bag belongs to James, of course I will use this evidence."

    But before her lawyers could begin consideration of what the arrest might mean for Corby, the Supreme Court's decision was confirmed. It was not known if Corby had been told last night of the court's ruling. Her sister Mercedes, who lives in Bali, could not be contacted.

    Supreme Court Judge Made Tara, one of three judges to make the final sentencing decision, declined to comment on the reasons behind the ruling.

    While the Supreme Court confirmed the appeal decision was on its way to Bali, Corby's legal team had no knowledge of it.

    Prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu said he had not been informed of the Supreme Court decision.

    But he said if the court had decided to increase the sentence back to 20 years he would be relatively happy, although he still believed she deserved a life sentence.

    Another group of young Australians facing the Balinese court system will have to wait longer than expected to learn of their fate.

    Sentence submissions on Brisbane men Scott Rush and Michael Czugaj, both 19, and Newcastle woman Renae Lawrence, 27 – all accused of attempting to smuggle heroin out of Denpasar – were to have been made this week.

    But the submissions, in which prosecutors may ask for the death penalty, have been delayed until next week.

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