Schapelle clings to hope

A FURORE over lax security with baggage handling at Sydney airport yesterday offered Schapelle Corby a faint glimmer of hope at her drug trial.

Indonesian judges yesterday agreed to accept transcripts of media reports about allegations of drug smuggling at Australian airports. But Judge Linton Sirait refused her lawyer’s request to play TV programs in court and warned that, as testimony in the case was closed, the transcripts could not be considered legal evidence. He said the court was not concerned with what had happened recently in Brisbane and Sydney airports. It came as her defence had its final chance to plead her case and as the court ruled it would hand down its verdict on May 27. We don’t need to hear or pay attention to those [TV] pictures – we are just handling the case in Denpasar District Court’s territory,” Judge Sirait told the court. “If the incidents are in Brisbane and Sydney airports we will not hear it.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said yesterday he could not rule out a link between corrupt baggage handlers implicated in an alleged cocaine smuggling racket and claims by Corby that handlers planted drugs in her luggage.

Mr Dixon said he was aware of reports Corby’s boogie-board was processed at Sydney airport’s international terminal on the same day a Qantas baggage handler allegedly smuggled cocaine out of the airport from another plane. “I can’t rule out any link,” he said. “All I can say is that we have looked very carefully over the past five months.

“We’ve known what’s been gong on and we haven’t found any connections, but I can’t say anything more than that.” Court documents tendered in a bail application in Sydney on Wednesday for a man charged over the alleged 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 October 8 last year.

Yesterday, outside Denpasar Court, Judge Sirait said the transcripts would be accepted as a supplement to the closing statement and not as new evidence. What happened in Australia is not evidence,” Judge Sirait said.

Corby’s final day in court came as the courtroom was again adorned with yellow ribbons. Her brother-in-law Wayan Widiartha wore a T-shirt proclaiming her innocence and carried a picture of Ms Corby behind bars. Australian tourists visiting the court signed a petition headed: “I believe in Schapelle Corby’s innocence.”

Her sister Mercedes carried about 16,000 signatures on petitions mailed to her by strangers, which she planned to give to her sister. Eleven-year-old Sarah sent one, attached to a letter she had written and signed with a silver heart. “I am thinking of you and I really hope everything works out. Everyone knows that you are innocent (sic) and no matter what we will keep on supporting you. Keep smiling.(sic) Love Sarah.”

Mercedes said the family had been overwhelmed by the support for her 27-year-old sister. “It helps to know that so many people support Schapelle. We know Schapelle is innocent, everyone knows Schapelle is innocent. We just want her to come home,” Mercedes said.

Her mother, Rosleigh Rose, expressed optimism that on May 27 her daughter would be freed. During a brief visit to Ms Corby at the court holding cell, Ms Rose held her hand and told her: “I am going to bring you home”.

Wearing her long hair out, Corby appeared much calmer yesterday. She waved at her mother and sister as she left the court for the last time before the verdict.

This report was published at www.dailytelegraph.com.au

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