drug sentence may be increased
Seven.com: 10 December 2005
By Marian Carroll and Olivia Rondonuwu
Bali prosecutors are confident judges considering Schapelle Corby's appeal will increase her sentence in light of photographs seized by Australian police showing her with an alleged drug smuggler.
As the 28-year-old Gold Coast woman maintained she was innocent, prosecutors on Saturday said they would seek access to the photographs.
They want to present them to Indonesia's highest court, the Supreme Court in Jakarta, which is considering her appeal against a 15-year sentence for drug smuggling.
Police found the photographs while searching the South Australian home of a man just charged with marijuana smuggling.
The raid was part of a joint SA-Queensland operation to bust an alleged smuggling ring operating between the states, a newspaper reported.
The photographs were taken before Corby's arrest on October 8 last year, when customs officers at Bali airport found 4.1kg of marijuana in her unlocked luggage.
"Schapelle stands by her comments made in court that she has never been involved in drugs," sister Mercedes Corby said.
She would not comment on whether the photos could potentially harm Corby's appeal hopes.
"We can't comment because we don't have the man's name, we haven't seen the photos and we're unable to get in contact with the head of that investigation (in SA) until next week," Mercedes said.
Corby is appealing against the 15-year sentence handed down by Bali's High Court earlier this year after it cut her original 20-year jail term on appeal.
Her prosecutors, who are demanding a life sentence, were bolstered by news of the photographs.
"If we can get copies of the photos, we will send them to the Supreme Court," prosecutor Ni Wayan Sinaryati told AAP.
"It would strengthen our case because her punishment has been decreased, and I hope these photos will convince the judges she is guilty."
Corby's former prosecutor Ida Bagus Nyoman Wiswantanu, who oversaw her case at the district and high court levels, said while it was too late to submit the photographs as new evidence, they could still be sent to the judges with an additional appeal letter.
He believed they would have a powerful impact on thecourt's decision.
"It could be additional proof of her guilt of being part of a syndicate," he said.
"I hope that with this, Australians can accept the court's decision more openly."
Corby's lawyers dismissed the photographs as inadmissible and said they remained confident the Supreme Court would not raise her sentence.
"I'm not worried, I'm still confident and I believe the sentence will not be more than the current sentence, even less," head lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea said from his Jakarta office.
"Legally, the photos are not admissible as evidence, but they may affect the personal thinking of the judges."
He said the last chance to submit evidence was at the High Court.
The Supreme Court can only consider application of the law when making its decision.
He said the photographs were weak evidence.
"You could have your photo taken with prostitutes, drug dealers, you never know, until years later someone brings those photos out. It doesn't make you guilty of a crime," he said.
Corby has consistently maintained the drugs were not hers and were planted in her baggage by an Australian drug gang using her as an unwitting interstate drug courier.
The Supreme Court's decision is not expected for another three to six months, Hutapea said.
Copyright © 2005 AAP, Seven Network (Operations) Ltd