Schapelle Corby

Her teary face has been on television almost every night for months as she awaits the judge’s verdict. Prime Minister John Howard has said that he ‘feels for the girl’. Channel 9 even had a ‘Chapelle Corby Special’ on Wednesday night, in which viewers were able to vote on whether they though she was guilty or not; even though most voters have no access to evidence, witnesses, or even a basic understanding of the law. Not only was this a disgusting display of exploitation for commercial gain, it trivialised a serious situation where an Australian citizen faces life in prison. Even Russell Crowe weighed into the debate, asking John Howard ‘what if it was your daughter?’

Why? Why has this 27 year old Gold Coast former beauty student suddenly caught the hearts and minds of the Australian public? Why won’t Channel 9 ever do a ‘special’ on the Bali 9? Why didn’t John Howard ‘feel sorry’ for David Hicks? (Ok, because he’s a Jew-hating Jihadist wanker, but still)

The answer’s simple. Ms Corby is young, pretty, and a cry baby. Australians see her as the underdog, fighting against what is perceived as the corrupt Indonesian courts, in what the media plays out as the ultimate David and Goliath struggle. People don’t care about the facts. People are drawn in by emotions; the pictures of Ms Corby crying in court, pleading to the judges to be set free.

She was found with 4kgs of marijuana in her bag. This will land her in court in any country, not just Indonesia. Yet the media seem intent on portraying the Indonesian courts as corrupt and trapped in the Middle Ages; one where you are guilty until proven innocent. From my limited legal knowledge, the Corby trial seems very open and fair. In Australia, a similar case will be heard in the Magistrate’s court, where the verdict and sentencing will often be decided by one judge and no jury, whereas Ms Corby’s trial involves three judges, none of which have ever been accused of corruption. The evidence given by John Ford, the Victorian prisoner who overheard a conversation in prison, would be considered hearsay and inadmissible in an Australian court, yet he was allowed his time on the bench during Ms Corby’s trial.

Australian citizen Nguyen Tuong Van is awaiting execution in Singapore for drug possession. Rachel Diaz and Chris Vo are both awaiting trial in Hong Kong for trafficking. Where are the nightly news reports about them? Is it because they’re not white? The media and the general public should leave Ms Corby’s trial alone, and let the court take its course of action. Because unlike Big Brother, the court’s verdict is based on facts, not public opinion.

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