By Rob Taylor in Denpasar - April 21, 2005
SCHAPELLE Corby whispered tearfully that her "life was over"
after an Indonesian prosecutor dropped calls for the death sentence only to demand she spend
the rest of her life behind bars in Bali.
Despite taking a tranquiliser, Ms Corby, 27, seemed inconsolable as she screamed and sobbed in a holding cell immediately after the hearing.
Prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu asked the Denpasar District Court to find Ms Corby "officially and convincingly guilty" of attempting to smuggle 4.2kg of marijuana into Denpasar airport last year in her bodyboard bag.
"The defendant's actions can ruin the image of Bali as a tourist destination," he told the panel of three judges who must ultimately determine Ms Corby's fate.
"The defendant's actions can make Bali look like a drug haven and affect young people's lives."
Mr Wiswantanu told the packed court he had not asked for the death penalty, partly because Ms Corby had been polite during her trial and had no prior drug record.
But he maintained that his prosecution team had proven her wrongdoing despite her repeated pleas of innocence and claims that she had been the unwitting victim of a drug ring operating at Australian airports.
He also asked the court to impose a 100 million rupiah ($13,500) fine.
"We can imagine, that amount of marijuana, how many people can consume it," Mr Wiswantanu said, warning it was enough for 4200 people.
Ms Corby, who collapsed with stress and illness during her last two court appearances, was given a sedative before arriving at the court in a prison bus.
With 10-officer police escort, she walked – handcuffed and unsteady – through a chaotic media scrum and then sat quietly through most of the two-hour hearing.
But she began crying as the prosecutor explained his demand for life imprisonment.
She turned to her Balinese interpreter when the sentence request was complete and said "my life is over".
The submission by the prosecution is only a recommendation.
The panel of three judges will determine Ms Corby's guilt or innocence and impose any sentence, which could be higher or lower than the prosecutors' recommendation.
The judges are not expected to hand down a verdict for several weeks.
Ms Corby maintains she is innocent.
At the end of the proceedings, she walked to her sister Mercedes in the public gallery and cried: "It's not fair."
The pair hugged in tears over a barrier separating them.
"It's OK, it's OK," Mercedes said.
About 30 Australian onlookers in the court were equally shocked.
"I think it's terrible," one woman said.
If the judges agree with the prosecutor in their verdict, Ms Corby will spend the rest of her life in prison, although she might qualify for yearly remissions after five years.
The sentence could also be capped at 20 years for good behaviour.
Ms Corby was taken to a holding cell where she sat wailing in a high-pitched scream with her Perth cousin Melissa Younger.
"I was under the impression it was going to be a fair trial," Ms Younger said afterwards.
"I don't think it is, but we will see what the judges say."
The trial was adjourned until Thursday, when her defence lawyers will reply to the prosecution's submission.
Ms Corby's lawyer Lely Lubis said the legal process was not over.
She said she had asked her client to be strong but admitted stress was taking its toll.
"Anybody can go crazy after seven months like this," Ms Lubis said. "Anyone can get depression from this."
Mr Wiswantanu thanked Australia's Government and Ms Corby's family for the strong support they had given the trial process.
But he warned that "people should know that Indonesian law is very harsh against drugs".
Ms Lubis was also in tears afterwards and said the prosecutor had ignored crucial evidence.
"So many facts were not there, especially statements from witnesses," she said, adding the prosecutor's submission had been "unfair".
"I thought in the beginning he was a really fair guy."
Ms Corby's Australian lawyer Robin Tampoe said the defence team had expected the prosecution's demand and now had a week to respond.
"I told her to keep her chin up," he said.
"Next week is an important week we'll be preparing for it as hard as we can."