Corby?s devoted friend vows to keep visiting
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
"SCHAPELLE is strong and whatever happens this is not the end."
Those were the last words Byron Bay woman Jodie Power-Ripley heard from the family of her childhood friend Schapelle Corby in a text message yesterday morning.
Hours later Corby, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to smuggle 4.1kg of marijuana into Indonesia.
After the verdict was announced, Corby's lawyers immediately confirmed the Gold Coast beauty student would be appealing the decision.
Jodie broke down in tears as she watched the live verdict from the Denpasar District Court on television with her mother, Margaret Campbell, by her side.
However, she said Corby would remain strong and maintain her innocence.
"The next challenge is the appeal and there is still hope," Jodie said.
"She won't give up fighting. She was so strong in the courtroom, she turned around and calmed her family down, which shows how much she cares about everyone."
Jodie has devoted the last seven months to helping her friend, but dreads the thought of travelling back to Bali.
"I don't want to go back to a country that puts an innocent person away for 20 years and the Bali bomber away for two-and-a-half years," she said.
"But as long as she's there I'll keep visiting her."
Jodie's mother, who moved to Byron Bay from Gympie to be with her daughter, said the Federal Government must now do all it can to save Corby.
"John Howard has never answered an email from us or Schapelle's family," she said.
"If it was one of his kids he would've had them out of jail in a second."
Jodie also called on the Prime Minister to lend his support to the Corby family.
"He needs to show some decency as a father," she said.
"He has shown no compassion to Schapelle's family even though they've written letters and emails to him trying to get a response."
A survey conducted by Media Monitors that revealed 90 per cent of Australians believed Corby was innocent has also given Jodie hope.
"That many people can't be wrong," she said.
"I'm proud to be an Australian seeing us pulling together for one of our own."