I wrote a letter to the newspapers following the conviction of Schapelle Corby for drug trafficking in May 2005. They did not publish it. However, I came across it in my files and thought I would include it here. It responded to the emotive attacks on the Indonesian judiciary in the wake of their verdict. I read today in The Daily Telegraph a story about Corby and I remain amazed by the continuing interest in her case four years after she was convicted. The letter appears below.
Generalised criticisms of the Indonesian judiciary are unwarranted and unhelpful. The Schapelle Corby guilty verdict will inevitably lead to emotional criticisms of the Indonesian legal system from certain sections of the Australian community. This is an entirely natural response given the divisive public debate over Corby’s guilt or innocence. However, it needs to be remembered that many in the community applauded the guilty verdicts in the trials of the Bali bombers as evidence of reform and balance in the Indonesian judiciary. Criticisms of specific inadequacies of a verdict are preferable to generalised value judgements of a sovereign nation’s judiciary. These double standards can only serve to damage perceptions of Australia in Indonesia.