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Corby lawyer presents letter to judges
May 17, 2005 - 5:34AM

A lawyer for accused drugs smuggler Schapelle Corby has delivered her final submission to judges in a Bali court, including a letter from the Australian government detailing alleged drugs-smuggling operations at Sydney airport.

Corby's lawyer Lily Lubis handed papers to court officials, among them transcripts of television programs about the Corby case, petitions from her supporters and the letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Ms Lubis said the letter from the Australian government was less than she had hoped for but she hoped judges would consider it.

While the letter does not mention Corby by name, it lends credence to the 27-year-old Gold Coast woman's claims that someone in Australia put more than 4 kg of marijuana in her bodyboard bag without her knowledge.

Chief judge Linton Sirait confirmed the court received the Australian government's letter but told reporters he did not know whether it would influence the verdict.

He said no more evidence could be accepted.

A verdict in Corby's case is due on Friday week.

Meanwhile Labor has demanded Prime Minister John Howard establish a royal commission into immigration detention or sack his Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.

Opposition immigration spokesman Laurie Ferguson said Mr Howard's response to the wrongful deportation of Australian woman Vivian Alvarez was totally inadequate and unacceptable.

"John Howard must set up a royal commission into wrongful detention and deportations," he said.

"Failing that ... he must sack his Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone and the head of the immigration department.

"But all the Australian people are getting from the prime minister are weasel words."

Click Here for Schapelle Corby Case Information

White knight the boss of Corby Inc
Jennifer Sexton and Sian Powell - May 17, 2005

SCHAPELLE Corby's name has been registered as a private company by her controversial white knight, Gold Coast businessman Ron Bakir.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission documents show Mr Bakir is the sole director, secretary and shareholder of Schapelle Corby Pty Ltd.

The private holding company was registered in Queensland on May 3, without the accused drug trafficker or a single Corby relative among the shareholders or directors.

Ms Corby's story has the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from book and film deals. Mr Bakir has already been spruiking for a $200,000 book deal - although proceeds-of-crime legislation might prevent her from profiting.

Asked about the company's structure, Mr Bakir said Ms Corby was the sole shareholder. When told ASIC documents tell a different story, Mr Bakir said he had "better get the lawyers to check things".

The company was set up to secure her name, at the family's request, he said.

"It's all for the good of Schapelle," Mr Bakir said.

In Denpasar yesterday, Ms Corby's chief lawyer delivered to the District Court a thick envelope of translated television programs, petitions signed by 10,000 people, character references, letters, an Australian court statement regarding an Australian cocaine-smuggling ring, and a short letter from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs concerning the cocaine ring.

Although the chief judge in the trial said he would accept the documents, the chief prosecutor said they had no legal standing because the trial was effectively over.

Ms Corby's lawyer Lily Lubis was not confident the documents would help secure her client's liberty.

Her lawyers remained disappointed that the letter from the Australian Government did not refer to Ms Corby by name, and that the admissions regarding drug-smuggling in Australian airports had come so late.

# A test conducted by The Australian yesterday showed that a boogie-board bag containing a standard board and flippers, such as that carried by Ms Corby, would have weighed 2.9kg.

An additional 4.1kg package would have taken the total weight of Corby's bag to 7kg. The average Australian house brick weighs a little more than 3kg.

Additional reporting: David King

Bakir denies Corby firm benefit
May 17, 2005

GOLD Coast businessman Ron Bakir today denied he would benefit financially from registering accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby's name as a private company.

Mr Bakir said that while he was a director of Schapelle Corby Pty Ltd, he would not collect any money from the company.

Asked if he had set up the company to recoup his losses from financing Ms Corby's legal fight against drugs charges in Bali, Mr Bakir told Channel 9: "Absolutely not.

"That company receives not one dollar, receives not one dollar.

"Everything I do is in the interests of Schapelle Corby and only in the interests of Schapelle Corby.

"I will not be collecting any money from that whatsoever."

Mr Bakir said the company's shares were owned by the Schapelle Corby Trust, of which he is the trustee.

But he said Ms Corby was in total control of the trust.

"She controls and ultimately owns the trust," he said.

"No-one can do anything without her approval. It's set up for the sole purpose of Schapelle Corby."

Ms Corby is awaiting a verdict in a Bali court after being accused of smuggling more than 4kg of marijuana into Denpasar.

Corby judges bombarded
By Cindy Wockner and Luke McIlveen - May 17, 2005

SCHAPELLE Corby's lawyers have pulled out all stops in one last desperate bid to save her, yesterday giving her judges petitions, character references, letters, media reports and even the police fact sheet from the Sydney Airport cocaine bust.

But Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out any further letters of support from the Australian Government.

Mr Howard last week asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to draft a carefully worded letter to the court pointing out details of the case involving baggage handlers running an alleged drug ring at Sydney Airport.

The man bankrolling Corby's defence, Gold Coast businessman Ron Bakir, yesterday called on Mr Howard to add some fresh lines to the letter. "We need the letter to be a bit more tailored, so to speak, towards Schapelle Corby and we'll be asking for specific things," Mr Bakir said.

But The Courier-Mail understands the original letter will not be changed.

It was unclear yesterday what, if any, effect the Government's 11th-hour intervention would have on the Corby case.

Indonesian Parliament Speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid, who is visiting Australia, warned the letter would not have the explosive effect the Corby team had hoped.

"It's OK (but) of course the Indonesian court would never be pressured because of such a letter," Dr Wahid said.

"A letter is a letter. A letter is not evidence, unless the letter came with evidence."

Corby's prosecutor, Ida Bagus Wiswantanu, was also dismissive, saying that under Indonesian law the documents were not legal evidence and could not be used in considering the verdict.

Mr Howard yesterday expressed sympathy for Corby.

Corby will learn on May 27 if she will spend the rest of her life in prison for attempting to import 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali on October 8 last year.

But Mr Howard said his Government was "walking a fine line" between helping Corby and interfering with Indonesian justice.

Mr Howard also refused to defend Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, who has come under fire for repeatedly questioning Corby's claim that she was set up by baggage handlers.

When asked if Mr Keelty had been too outspoken, Mr Howard said: "All I can say is that I have been very circumspect . . . and I believe everybody in any position of authority in Australia should be circumspect if we are really concerned that this girl will receive a fair trial."

Mr Keelty last week branded Corby's defence "flimsy" and said there was no evidence her bag had been tampered with between Sydney and Denpasar.

Mr Keelty angrily denied yesterday that he had deliberately tried to damage Corby's chance of freedom.

"I don't have a vendetta against Schapelle Corby," he said. "I have not tried to discredit her evidence."

In another development yesterday, Today Tonight revealed that Corby was married to a Japanese man for three months when she was working in Japan serving drinks in nightclubs.

Corby's ex-husband in shock
AS SCHAPELLE Corby waits for her fate to be decided by an Indonesian court, thousands of kilometres away in Japan her former husband is in a state of shock.

The man who was married to the 27-year-old for five years has told New Idea he only recently learned his former wife was charged with smuggling 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali last October.

The Australian public has heard little of Corby's husband, whose name was changed in the magazine article.

The 32-year-old revealed how he did not know his ex-wife was confined to an Indonesian jail cell, despite talking to Corby on the telephone in October.

"I can't believe this has happened. It was a very strange phone call. She asked after my family and told me her father was very sick. She kept repeating herself," he said.

The Japanese man said he met Corby in a Gold Coast supermarket, where he was working as a cashier while on holiday and was charmed by her ability to speak his language.

The pair were married a few months later, in June 1998, at the city hall in the Japanese surf town of Omaezaki.

Corby agreed to live in the town, on the east coast of Japan, and while she had previously worked in Japan the lovestruck Australian found it hard to settle into life as a Japanese wife and the pair was eventually divorced.

Friends said the life the couple were living in their small beachside apartment - where Corby did bar work in a traditional Japanese inn and her husband worked on a tea plantations - was lonely for Corby.

Yoshie Matsuo, a neighbour who lived beneath the couple, said Corby had few friends in the isolated community.

"She didn't have many friends here. She must have been very lonely. I feel so sorry for her. I had no idea," the neighbour said.

With Corby facing the death penalty or life behind bars, the former husband, who said he could not recall the good times he had with Corby, said she did not deserve either punishment.

"She is a human being who doesn't deserve to die or spend her life in prison," he said.

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