Corby in the Clear

The Advertiser: 13 January 2006

By Tegan Sluggett

 




SCHAPELLE Corby has been cleared of any link to the Adelaide man facing drug charges with whom she was photographed in Bali's Kerobokan Prison.

Breaking his silence to The Advertiser, Malcolm McCauley the man in a controversial photograph published here for the first time said he had visited Corby twice last year in Bali but only as a tourist offering support during her drugs trial.

"A mate and I were in Bali and we thought we'd go have a looksee in court," Mr McCauley said at his Salisbury North home yesterday.

"She's high profile and she's an Aussie. That's why we were interested in it.

"Her sister and mother came up to us after and thanked us for being there, like they were doing with a lot of groups."

Mr McCauley said the first time he met Corby, 28, was at her court hearing in May.

He said Corby's mother introduced him to her daughter while she was in the holding cell at the court before inviting him to visit Corby in Kerobokan Prison the following day. "We asked if we could sneak some photos in (while we were there), so we did," Mr McCauley said.

"There were four of us including Schapelle's mother and partner and us. But we weren't the only ones. There were other Aussies coming in as well to get photos taken."

Mr McCauley said the photos were taken at an empty fish pond at the prison, where they were permitted by prison guards to sit and talk to Corby.

Corby, who was sentenced to 20 years' jail in May but had her sentence cut by five years in October, wrote a letter to McCauley's granddaughter thanking her for her support.

Mr McCauley, 60, appeared in Elizabeth Magistrates Court charged with taking part in the sale of a controlled substance between November 19 and November 25 last year.

Police allegedly found 15kg of cannabis and $60,000 cash during the raid on his home.

The discovery of the photographs in the raid cast doubt on Corby's claims during her trial in Bali she had no previous links to drugs.

Mr McCauley's version of events backs the story Corby's mother, Rosleigh Rose, gave when news of the photographs first came to light on December 10.

Ms Rose told The Advertiser last night she knew her version of events was right.

"It was handled so badly (by police)," said Ms Rose.

"It was disgusting you could tell the photos had been taken at the prison. Once police found out I had the photos, it was all hushed up. It's just made me so cranky. This is just one lie I knew I could stop."

Ms Rose arrived in Adelaide on December 15 last year determined to see the photographs but her request was denied by police.

Superintendent Neil Smith advised Ms Rose there was no point in her coming to Adelaide. Mick Phelan, national manager for border and international with the Australian Federal Police, said authorities were giving careful consideration to the legal ramifications of Ms Rose's request.

"We just can't release that property, even to look at," he said at the time.

"The property actually belongs to the person from whom it was seized."

After leaving Bali, Mr McCauley said he has had no contact with the family, but was shocked when the photos were seized and allegations of a link between himself and Corby made.

He has since had the photos returned to him by police.



Schapelle letter made grandfather proud

(An Accompanying article)

MALCOLM McCauley was so proud when he gave a letter written by Schapelle Corby to his granddaughter last year.

She had asked him to get an autograph for her if he met the convicted drug smuggler when he went to Bali last year.

Mr McCauley said he and a friend had visited Corby in the Kerobokan jail after an invitation from her mother, Rosleigh Rose, who they had met at the Denpasar court during Corby's trial.

Instead of an autograph, Corby wrote the 11-year-old a letter and included a photo of herself taken in the courtroom.

The message on the back of the photograph read: "When you're old enough to travel the world, remember the LOCKS ON YOUR BAGS".

In the separate letter to the granddaughter and her classmates, Corby thanked them for their support, telling them "it's what gets me through each day."

She also wrote about meeting Mr McCauley at the court and again in prison the following day.

"Your Grand-dad (sic) has come in to see me, also I met him last Friday at the court cell.

"He's a good Grand-dad."

Schapelle also added a smiley face with "Be Positive" written around it.

Mr McCauley said his granddaughter was excited when he gave her the letter and photograph and showed both to all her friends.

He also said she admired Schapelle for everything she had been through and looked up to her.

Mr McCauley said his granddaughter stood up for Corby whenever anyone suggested she was guilty.

Mr McCauley said he never made a secret of meeting Corby in Bali.

"Did I keep it a secret about meeting Schapelle? Certainly not. I showed the photos to all my friends," he said.

According to Mr McCauley, the story surrounding the photos had been "beat up" and it had ripped his life apart.

He is now seeking medical treatment for stress, and says he has been ostracised by family members and many friends.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think anything would come of it," he said.

"There's a lot of people who have been hurt by this. It's cost me dearly. "People are saying to me that I could have cost Schapelle another five years (in jail). It's blown natural justice to hell."