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Canberra rejects Corby's legal wish-list
By Sian Powell - June 13, 2005

THE Australian Government cannot fulfil the multiple requests of Schapelle Corby's Indonesian lawyers.

The 27-year-old drug-smuggler's lawyers wrote to John Howard requesting two Australian prisoners be produced for her appeal, along with the Customs and Immigration officials who dealt with Corby on October 8, the day she flew to Bali.

In a letter received by the Indonesian legal team last Friday, Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the Government could not compel Australians to travel overseas to testify in foreign courts. However, he said there were other options, such as teleconference, or sworn testimony given in an Australian court, with transcripts sent to Indonesia.

He said the lawyers should first approach the Indonesian authorities with such requests.

"The Australian Government can only provide the particular assistance if we receive a request for mutual assistance in a criminal matter from the Indonesian Government. It is open to you to approach Indonesian authorities regarding your needs for mutual assistance from Australia," Senator Ellison wrote.

One of Corby's chief Indonesian lawyers, Erwin Siregar, said he was disappointed.

"This is not helping," he said yesterday. "Although the Australian Government once said it would fully support and give anything necessary for Corby, it's evident it hasn't done it. That's not the answer we were looking for."

The lawyers intend to file their appeal note tomorrow , but extra elements can be added later, Mr Siregar said.

Top-gun Jakarta lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea said he wanted "Paul" and "Terry", named by fellow-prisoner John Patrick Ford, to tell an appeal hearing anything they know about the 4.1kg of marijuana found in Corby's unlocked bodyboard bag.

Corby was last month sentenced to 20 years' jail.

Mr Hutapea, known in Jakarta for the pistol he wears on his hip and the diamonds on his wrists, called the press conference in Jakarta in an apparent attempt to pressure the Australian Government.

Present at the conference was soap star Annisa Tri Hapsari, who will now apparently speak on Corby's behalf in an attempt to win the sympathy of the Indonesian public. Her presence ensured a full complement of Jakarta's entertainment journalists.

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Prosecutors lodge Corby appeal
Prosecutors in Bali have formally asked for an increase in the sentence handed to convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

Corby was sentenced to 20 years jail and fined for carrying 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Indonesia in her bodyboard bag.

The prosecutors have appealed to the High Court of Denpasar against the leniency of the sentence, saying Corby has having been involved in a "transnational crime".

The appeal in part states that drug importation is a great danger to life, the community and the nation, and that the perpetrators of this form of transnational crime have to be punished with a severe penalty.

The defence team is expected to file its appeal tomorrow.

Unless it succeeds in its planned request for hearings to be reopened, the appeal could be resolved behind closed doors within a month or so.

Soap star

The defence has added an Indonesian soap star, Anisa Tri Hapsari, to its team.

Working under recently hired Jakarta commercial lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea, she will act as an information officer to try to persuade ordinary Indonesians of Corby's innocence.

Mr Hutapea says the Hapsari campaign may help persuade the judges, who are usually reluctant to go against public opinion.

"Her high-profile label will be to help convince people that Corby is not guilty," he said.

STAY CALM Schapelle Corby's plea to Australia
By CINDY WOCKNER in Denpasar, Bali

SCHAPELLE Corby has issued a plea for Australians to "stay calm".

Making the call from her cramped Indonesian jail cell, Corby warned Australians that over-reactions and anti-Indonesian sentiment about her controversial drug smuggling conviction was making her life behind bars very difficult.

Since threats were made to the Indonesian Embassy in Australia, she had been subjected to derogatory remarks by Indonesian prisoners, which she found extremely distressing.

The 27-year-old's message yesterday to her countrymen came after a two-hour visit to the jail by two Australian barristers who have joined her legal team.

After the meeting, Mark Trowell, QC, said Corby had asked him to convey a message to the public in her home country and in Indonesia and to thank all her supporters, who helped keep her going.

"She asks Australians to think very carefully about how they would respond to her situation," Mr Trowell said.

"She was extremely upset about the recent events in Australia and of course the demonstrations that took place recently in Jakarta. But she knows that does not represent the general view of the Australian population nor, indeed, of the Indonesian population," Mr Trowell said outside the jail.

"She wants to make the point that that sort of over-reaction to her situation makes her life very difficult for her inside prison and also being critical of Indonesia serves no purpose other than to make life harder for her.

"She asks everyone to stay calm and support her in this extremely difficult period of her life," he said.

Meanwhile, Lindy Chamberlain, wrongly convicted of murdering her daughter Azaria almost 25 years ago, has told Corby her "heart bleeds" for her.

Women's magazine New Idea this week details a letter Ms Chamberlain wrote to Corby, advising that "suicide is a coward's way out" and to "cling" to the facts. "You are just a few years younger than I was when I went through my ordeal," Ms Chamberlain writes in the magazine.

"Seeing your verdict and your reaction to it made me feel like I had been kicked all over again."

She advised her to take the help of the "top lawyers" the Government had offered her and "keep quiet" about her appeal.

"As much as it will bug your family and supporters not to hear news of your case, don't let the prosecution have forewarning. This is crucial - it could ruin your release chances."

Mr Trowell said that since the tide of anti-Indonesian sentiment in Australia in the wake of her verdict had become known inside the prison, Corby had been subjected to derogatory remarks from fellow prisoners.

"If people want to support her they should do it in a calm and reasoned manner and not be extreme and be critical to promote the sort of disgraceful thing that we saw happen in Canberra recently at the Indonesian Embassy," he said.

"No one supports that and it certainly doesn't help her. She was extremely depressed by it."

Mr Trowell said Corby became a focus when such sentiments were expressed "by people who are ignorant" and don't understand the process. "She is the one who bears the brunt of that criticism," he said.

"She just wants to reassure the Indonesian people that any views that have come about because of her position and situation are not the views that she carries."

Mr Trowell said Corby had asked him to convey to her supporters that their letters were welcome and gave her comfort at night in her cell.

"She also said that she wants everyone to keep writing to her. She derived a lot of support and emotional support from the fact that she receives hundreds of letters a day," Mr Trowell said.

Fellow barrister Phillip Laskaris said Corby spent time meditating and trying to keep strong and focused for the battle ahead. The pair said Corby understood that the appeal process would take time and that she needed to be patient.

"She is a good kid and she is trying very hard to deal with what is, I suppose, the worst time of her life," Mr Trowell said.

He told how, even when her own plight was so serious, Corby was considerate of her fellow inmates and arranged for her family and friends to bring things for other prisoners.

The Perth barristers pointed out yesterday they were not in Bali to "muscle in" on the case and any initial misunderstandings or friction between them and the existing team had now been ironed out.

They said Corby was delighted to learn from them that the Federal Government had been helping to fund her Indonesian legal team, something of which she had been unaware.

Today her Indonesian lawyers will travel to Jakarta to meet several leading defence attorneys in a bid to get them on side to help draft the appeal.

Minister warns of limits to Corby aid
Cindy Wockner and Nick Butterly

FEDERAL Justice Minister Chris Ellison has warned that requests to the Government from Schapelle Corby's legal team must be within the bounds of common sense but the Government will do all it can to meet the demands.

Lawyers for the the Gold Coast beauty student, sentenced to 20 years' jail on drug charges in Bali on May 27, have sent a written list of requests to the Government for her appeal, which must be lodged tomorrow.

However, the letter was only sent late last week and another letter was given to Perth barrister Mark Trowell, QC, at noon on Friday.

The Indonesian team also wants the Government to produce the owner of the 4.1kg of marijuana and the person who allegedly planted it in Corby's bag.

"The request to the Government to find who put the marijuana in the bag I mean, how long is a piece of string?" Senator Ellison said. "We can do what we can do within reasonable limits."

The Indonesian team's case co-ordinator, Vasu Rasiah, flew to Perth last week to deliver the letter to Mr Trowell.

Lawyer Erwin Siregar said the team was hoping to convince the Denpasar High Court to reopen the trial in the District Court so that further witnesses could be called.

Their wish list includes Ronnie Vigenza the man who Victorian prisoner John Patrick Ford testified at Corby's trial owned the drugs along with two prisoners known only as Terry and Paul.

"We will work with the defence team in relation to the appeal and do whatever we can." Senator Ellison said.

"The requests were made only in the last few days and of course time wise that puts pressure on us."

The letter also requested a Brisbane airport check-in counter worker who took Corby's luggage on October 8, along with a baggage handler, be brought to Bali to testify.

Flood of 'Corby' charities concerns Qld Govt
The Queensland Government is investigating at least five charities set up in the name of the convicted Bali drug smuggler Schapelle Corby.

The Government will ask the Gold Coast woman to officially endorse legitimate funds.

Fair Trading Minister Margaret Keech says there are several websites calling for donations on Corby's behalf.

However, the Government is concerned about the transparency and accountability of some of them.

Mrs Keech has raised the issue with one of Corby's lawyers, Perth QC Mark Trowell.

She wants the 27-year-old to nominate official 'funds'.

A spokesman for the Minister says the Government is not trying to discourage people from donating but wants to ensure the money is reaching Corby and her family.

Corby has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of taking 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali late last year.

Her lawyers will lodge an appeal next week.

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