Barrister's plea for Schapelle
By ZOE SATHERLEY
LENNOX Head criminal law specialist barrister Gemunu Kumarasinhe believes the Federal Government should directly intervene in the Schapelle Corby drugs case if her appeal fails.
He said it was almost impossible for Ms Corby, a Gold Coast beauty student, to have received a fair trial under Indonesian law.
Ms Corby has been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment after being found with 4.1kg of marijuana in her luggage at Denpasar Airport, but there is a widespread belief the drugs were planted by airport baggage handlers.
"Had her trial been in Australia, it would have been absolutely fair," Mr Kumarasinhe said.
"We have a civilised legal system.
"I'm not sure it is so in Indonesia. God forbid anyone should have to be tried there.
"With the amount of media attention, public comment and analysis allowed in Indonesia, you could argue that a fair trial was impossible.
"The judges may well have been prejudiced by what they read or heard about her, especially information about her father and his past convictions which is not relevant at all. But it is pretty hard to block out that sort of informa- tion and it's very damaging.
"I think she should go ahead with the appeal but if it fails, the Federal Government should get off its bottom and immediately appeal to the Indonesian President to extend some mercy and let us bring her back home.
"To see Schapelle rot for 20 years in a dirty, disgusting rat-infested prison is unthinkable.
"You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.
"The Australian public should stand by Schapelle and support her. She needs our support."
A small number of Australians upset by Ms Corby's conviction have called aid agencies for the return of their tsunami relief donations.
Spokespeople for both World Vision and the Salvation Army have confirmed people have been calling asking for their money back.
Many callers to talk-back radio calling for Australians to boycott Bali.
Governor-General Michael Jeffery has not ruled out lending his support to any future appeal.
Corby's family have told the media they fear the 27-year-old will take her own life if forced to serve the entire sentence.
Member for Richmond Justine Elliot said the Labor Party had written to the Indonesian Government requesting a presidential pardon for Schapelle, and she called on the Federal Government to do the same.
Schapelle's website is www.schapellecorby.com.au