Monday, June 30, 2008

Ganja Queen

Tonight I saw the documentary Ganja Queen about the gross injustice that's happened to Australian Schappelle Corby.

In 2004, 27-year-old Schappelle had begun caring for her father who was ill with cancer and was preparing for some upcoming rough treatments that he would endure. Because the family realized how difficult this was for her, they helped her pay for a short vacation to take in the weeks prior.

The destination was Bali, Indonesia and she would travel with a few friends to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and natural amenities of the area. In her luggage was a boogie board, which was packed by her and her friend. The only thing in the bag when they arrived at the Brisbane airport was the boogie board.

Upon their arrival in Bali, her bag was searched and 4.2 kilos of hydroponic marijuana was discovered. Schappelle was stunned and immediately claimed she had no idea where it came from.

She was then arrested and interrogated in the Bali customs unit, with her friends by her side also claiming her (and their) innocence.

There was no DNA testing of the plastic bag containing the drugs, or the drugs themselves, and there was evidence of a drug sting back in the Australian airport that same day (traffickers were paying baggage handlers to set up mules). But that didn't matter—they still held Schappele for seven months before putting her on trial.

I won't reveal the outcome of the verdict, but I will say it's not good news and documentaries like this make me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.

But for people like her, we have to continue having hope.

UPDATE: Chapelle is almost free ...



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1 comment:

Oscar Alex Gilchrist said...

The sympathy is nice but there are problems in what you write.

i) you can't DNA test plastic; you meant to write I think that they never fingerprinted the plastic bag, which was then handled and rehandled by a dozen or more other people

ii) the baggage handlers indicted in the smuggling case on that very day Corby flew out were paid to receive cocaine from overseas; hence, different drug, different direction

iii) Michael Corby (the father) doesn't look all that bad in the film; he is able to travel to Bali and the most we see of his 'cancer' is him receiving a blood-pressure test; he is weirdly calm throughout

From my perspective, Corby is guilty by association, probably taking the fall for her younger half-brother James Kisina, who has subsequently arrested for breaking and entering, confinement and drug possession, following an attack he made on a drug dealer's house. His testimony in the film is evasive to say the least, and it's not because he's half-Tongan.

The last piece of 'evidence' I would mention from the film is when asked directly 'is the wrong Corby in jail', the answer is, sheepishly, knowingly, 'the wrong person is in jail'. There is guilt there.

What I want to know about is the Indian defence attorney who says, not knowing he's on camera, to the TV salesman that he can 'fix' it.

Corby is 'innocent' enough to be released I think. Her family is a bunch of car wrecks and she's taken the fall.