Schapelle Corby’s defence team has called for Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty to stand down for publicly commenting on her case.
Corby’s Australian lawyer Robin Tampoe and financial backer Ron Bakir today criticised Mr Keelty for describing intelligence supporting her defence of being an unwitting drug mule as flimsy.
Their concerns were echoed by Law Council of Australia president John North, who said Mr Keelty had acted dangerously by weighing into the Corby case.
Mr North said if the Gold Coast beauty student was being tried in Australia “Mr Keelty would not be able to make such damaging comments in an Australian case because he would run a grave risk of being found in contempt of court” .
Mr North said Australians deserved more from their chief law enforcement officer.
“Mr Keelty has acted dangerously in attempting to play down these accusations against baggage handlers,” Mr North said.
“An Australian law enforcement authority with responsibilities for investigation allegations and providing evidence to prosecutors for production in court should not be commenting publicly on such matters while a case is pending.”
Corby, 27, is accused of smuggling 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali on October 8 last year.
She faces life in prison if Indonesian judges agree with prosecution demands when they hand down their verdict on May 27.
Mr Tampoe questioned the reasons behind Mr Keelty’s comments, pointing out that he had refused to allow AFP personnel to testify at any stage of the trial.
“It’s our very firm belief that an enormous amount of damage was done by inappropriate comments (made), not just in the last few days but over the last few months, by Mr Keelty,” Mr Tampoe told a news conference.
“It’s time now for something to be done. Mr Keelty needs to be accountable and we’d like to know what our government’s prepared to do.”
Mr Tampoe and Mr Bakir also appealed to the federal government to seek a pardon from their Indonesian counterparts if Corby is found guilty.
“If Schapelle Corby is convicted … we are asking that the Australian government step in, take ownership and ask for her to be pardoned because what’s happening to her is a total injustice,” Mr Bakir said.
“We are going to make the request because this is an extraordinary case and our belief is that it is impossible for Schapelle Corby to get a fair trial because all the evidence she required was not attainable.”
The pair dismissed suggestions that the discovery of drugs in Corby’s bodyboard bag and the exposure of an alleged cocaine smuggling racket among corrupt Qantas baggage handlers was a coincidence.
A man charged over the cocaine importation conspiracy said Qantas baggage handlers were paid $300,000 to smuggle a briefcase containing 9.9kg of cocaine through Sydney International Airport on the same day Corby left for Bali.
Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said he could not rule out any link between the two cases.