Schapelle Corby: A question of innocence – “Sunday” Current Affairs show does indepth investigation

Schapelle Corby: A question of innocence
May 8, 2005
Reporter : Ross Coulthart
Producer : Peter Hiscock

It’s the question all Australians are asking. Since Schapelle Corby was arrested in Bali seven months ago, and her boogie board bag found by Indonesian police to contain 4.1 kilograms of marijuana, she and her legal team have strongly protested her innocence.

Now, with the Indonesian Prosecutor calling for her to serve life in jail and one of the judges reportedly saying he still needs to be convinced by the Corby defence team, there is a very real likelihood the Gold Coast resident will spend much of the rest of her life in a Balinese jail when a decision is made on her fate sometime this month.

Schapelle Corby is running out of time to prove her innocence to an as yet unconvinced Indonesian court.

But the question remains: did she do it or didn’t she?

In a special Sunday investigation, reporter Ross Coulthart looks behind the rumour and innuendo now widely circulating about the Corby case. In an extensive exclusive interview with Schapelle’s sister, Mercedes, he confronts Mercedes with the allegations about her and other members of the Corby family. As Sundayexplains, these highly damaging rumours are circulating behind the scenes among the Bali-based Australian media and the Indonesian authorities.

And as Mercedes explains in detail, they are totally false: “I get so frustrated that people can make up these lies. And even the press, they can print it. Do they even check the facts?”

Sunday reveals major new evidence from a former senior officer in the Australian Federal Police that goes to the heart of claims by Schapelle Corby that she was the unwitting victim of a domestic criminal drug smuggling racket that went wrong. His evidence backs a key contention in the Corby defence: that Australian drug traffickers have used, and in all likelihood still do use, the baggage of unwitting passengers to shift drugs into and around Australia.

In explosive allegations, this former senior AFP officer accuses the Australian Federal Police of shutting down his attempts to investigate such drug trafficking at Australian domestic airports. He explains how his investigations included intelligence suggesting that corrupt NSW and AFP officers were working in league with corrupt airport staff to smuggle drugs into and around Australia.

On one occasion, his attempts to send sniffer dogs into one airport to detect marijuana he suspected was being moved there was shut down by senior management because of a claimed shortage of resources for such an investigation. He says that to this day, the allegations about corrupt police working in league with criminal drug syndicates at Australian airports have never been properly investigated.

The Corby case has revealed serious shortcomings in the security of passenger baggage passing through Australian airports. In his first TV interview, Brisbane-based Qantas baggage handler, Scott Speed, who travelled to Bali to give evidence at the Corby trial, explains why he believes Schapelle Corby is innocent. Another insider reveals security concerns at the Brisbane Airport where Schapelle left for Bali last October. And Sunday asks Qantas security boss Geoff Askew about recent examples of baggage tampering.

And why, Sunday asks, has another key witness, who also alleges he too was a victim of drugs planted in his baggage just like Schapelle Corby, never been interviewed by any police or Government agency? As he tells Sunday, he opened his bag in Bali to find someone had planted a large quantity of marijuana inside, and — despite contacting Australian Government officials at the time and having raised his allegations more publicly since — no one in any law enforcement agency has seen fit to question him in any way. They told him to destroy the evidence…

Sunday also questions whether it is now even possible for Schapelle Corby to have a fair trial — not least because of the extremely serious failings by Indonesian police in their investigations into the drugs found in Corby’s bag.

If you want to know the real story about the Corby case, don’t miss this major Sunday investigation.
Read the transcript here

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