Schapelle Corby is a young (at time of writing, 27) Australian woman convicted of smuggling 4.1 Kg of marijuana into Bali.

She was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment by an Indonesian court on Friday May 27, 2005.

The Schapelle Corby case gained widespread media attention in Australia. Many Australians believe that Corby is an innocent victim, or drug "mule" used to unknowingly transport drugs on behalf of someone else. This was the case presented to the Indonesian court by the Corby defence team.

In an attempt to lend credence to this argument, an Australian prisoner was flown to Bali to testify for the defence. He testified that he had overheard a conversation whilst he was in jail where other inmates joked about Corby unwittingly being caught out in a 'game' between drug dealers. This ploy seemed to have gained little sway with the judges however.1

Drug Smuggling carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad in Indonesia. After the verdict many commentators expressed a belief that Schapelle Corby was extremely lucky to receive such a lenient sentence. Members of the Indonesian Government also voiced concern that the sentence was too light.

The media attention that the case has gained in Australia has been extraordinary. The guilty verdict has caused outrage in the general public. Many Australians have been reportedly refusing to donate money to the charity appeals such as the Salvation Army unless a guarantee is given that the money does not go to help tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia. Other Australians have been reported to be boycotting all travel to Indonesia, and Bali in particular.

It remains to be seen whether Schapelle Corby will appeal the sentence handed down. An appeal may backfire and result in a life sentence or even the death penalty.

1: This sort of hearsay evidence would be inadmissible in just about any court in the western world.

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