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Corby defence team hopes for breakthrough -

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Corby defence team hopes for breakthrough

Reporter: Tracy Bowden

KERRY O'BRIEN: Welcome to the program. Queensland woman Schapelle Corby has spent almost six months
now behind bars in Indonesia. She stands accused of trying to take a large amount of marijuana into
Bali. If the three judges presiding over her trial find her guilty, the ultimate punishment she
could face is the death penalty. The prosecution case relies on a fact no-one disputes - the drugs
were in Schapelle Corby's luggage at Bali's Denpasar Airport. The defence team has been scrambling
to mount strong enough evidence at least to raise strong doubts in the minds of the judges -
there's no jury. Tonight we speak to one of Schapelle Corby's closest friends and to the Australian
businessman and his lawyer who have provided help at the eleventh hour. Late today, they advised
that information had become available that the defence team hopes will provide their first big
break in this case. Tracy Bowden with this special report.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Six months ago, Schapelle Corby was an aspiring beautician living in Tugun on the
Gold Coast, with her life in front of her. Now, the devastating reality confronting this young
woman is that her days may be numbered.

JODIE POWER:, FRIEND: It's hard seeing the whole thing and knowing that she's sitting there facing
a death penalty. Like, that's - that's not right. I don't know if I can actually believe that,

TRACEY BOWDEN: Is Schapelle Corby an international drug runner or an unwitting victim of

RON BAKIR, BUSINESSMAN: I just consider it as an innocent person being in the wrong place at the
wrong time.

TRACEY BOWDEN: The case against Schapelle Corby is simple and powerful. Now, the race is on to
build a convincing defence. Time is running out.

ROBIN TAMPOE, LAWYER: The reality is, it's a possibility that she could be executed over there if
we can't put a very positive defence forward.

TRACEY BOWDEN: It was the day before the Australian federal election, Friday, October 8, 2004, when
Schapelle Corby, her stepbrother and two girlfriends headed for Brisbane Airport at first light,
the future of the nation was far from their minds. They were thinking about their holiday in Bali.

JODIE POWER: We were planning for a good few months, and everyone was excited.

TRACEY BOWDEN: The group checked their bags in at Brisbane's domestic terminal. At the Qantas
counter, Schapelle Corby was instructed to take her bodyboard to the oversize baggage section. With
that done, the friends posed for a farewell photo before boarding a domestic flight to Sydney, then
on to an international flight to Indonesia. It was in transit in Sydney that Schapelle Corby met up
with her friend, Jodie Power, also bound for Bali. The friends were to celebrate the 30th birthday
of Schapelle Corby's sister Mercedes.

JODIE POWER: We had a drink before we got on the plane and we were just talking about we were going
to meet up by the pool at 5 o'clock that afternoon at her hotel. That was the last thing she said
to me - "I will meet you by the pool at 5 o'clock."

TRACEY BOWDEN: The meeting never happened. Instead, Schapelle Corby was arrested on her arrival in
Bali. When Schapelle Corby's bodyboard bag was opened at Denpasar Airport, this is what customs
officers were confronted with - a big this size containing cannabis. Immediately, questions spring
to mind like, why would anyone take this amount of cannabis, 4.1 kilos, to Bali? It would be worth
more sold here in Australia. If you were trying to take it in, why not conceal it a little better
than in clear plastic? And even more, why would anyone do this, knowing that the possible penalty
is death?

RON BAKIR: It didn't make sense. It just didn't make sense. The whole case did not make sense from
A to Z. From the time she checked in at Brisbane terminal till the time she landed, it did not make

TRACEY BOWDEN: Up until just a couple of weeks ago, Schapelle Corby's defence was being handled
only by a legal team in Bali. Then, an offer of help from an unlikely source. Mobile phone
entrepreneur Ron Bakir offered his lawyer and his money to bolster the defence case.

RON BAKIR: I just consider it as an innocent person being in the wrong place at the wrong time
that's been caught up in something that they have absolutely no idea about, that needs some help,
and needs somebody to step up to the challenge and help them.

TRACEY BOWDEN: What's your level of investment?

RON BAKIR: Whatever it takes. We will do everything in our power to ensure that Schapelle Corby
gets a fair trial.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Ron Bakir's lawyer, Robin Tampoe, says time is the enemy. With Schapelle Corby's
trial in its closing stages, he's racing to find evidence to support the defence argument that the
drugs were not in Schapelle Corby's bag when she checked in in Brisbane.

ROBIN TAMPOE: We will hopefully be able to convince the judges over there that, you know, these
aren't her drugs, that something has gone on beyond her control.

TRACEY BOWDEN: The prosecution's case relies on the indisputable evidence of the drugs. And the
testimony of police and customs officers who told the Denpasar District Court that Schapelle Corby
refused to open the bodyboard bag when asked, and then admitted the drugs were hers - claims the
accused denies.

JODIE POWER: I have never, never seen her smoke marijuana, I have never seen her take drugs, ever.
In the 14 years I've known her, I have never once seen her at all.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Jodie Power, a long-time friend of the Corby family, had shared holidays with them
in Bali before, and this time was to be no different. But the news she received from Schapelle
Corby's sister the next morning would change all that.

JODIE POWER: She told us, you know, someone's put something in Schapelle's bag and I went, "What do
you mean?" "Someone's put some marijuana in there", and I went, "No." And she goes, "No, four
kilos", or it was a large amount, I don't remember her exact words. We were just like what? No-one
believed it. Everyone just cried, I think, for those first three weeks that we were all there. We
didn't do anything, we didn't go out. It was - it was very surreal.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Would she have any reason to take a large amount of marijuana to Bali?

JODIE POWER: No. That's just ridiculous. That's silly. You wouldn't do it. She would not do it.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Do you reckon she would've known, because she'd been there a few times, would she
have known about the penalties?

JODIE POWER: Oh yeah, for sure. Everyone knows. And you know, we've all been there a few times and
we're all quite aware of, you know, it's the death penalty. You wouldn't - yeah, we all know. She

innocent or guilty, but what I do know is that based on the available evidence, it would be a
complete travesty of justice if she was convicted.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Criminologist Paul Wilson's concerns about this trial lie in the many questions that
remain unanswered.

PROFESSOR PAUL WILSON: I don't think there's real evidence of intent on her part. There's no solid
forensic evidence such as fingerprints, for example. There's no distribution network which has been
found in Bali. And I think lacking this information, it's very hard to come to the view that she's

TRACEY BOWDEN: From day one, Schapelle Corby asked that the plastic bags containing the drugs be
tested for fingerprints. She was adamant none of hers would be found. Despite repeated requests
from the defence team, the bags have still not been finger printed.

RON BAKIR: The fingerprinting, et cetera, of all the bags was something that we have wanted, and we
still want that, and Schapelle's been crying out for that from day one.

TRACEY BOWDEN: And it wasn't just the fingerprinting tests the defence team sought. Back in
Australia, they began chasing other vital information.

RON BAKIR: What we wanted to get before the court obviously is weights, the weight of her
individual bag.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Was Schapelle Corby's bodyboard bag weighed on its own?

GEOFFREY ASKEW, HEAD OF QANTAS GROUP SECURITY: No, it was not. We weigh the collective weight of
baggage for passengers for two reasons: One, we want to know how much weight we carry on board the
aircraft, particularly the captain does, it's a weight and balance issue, it's a safety issue and,
secondly, for excess baggage.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Schapelle Corby's lawyers also wanted to find out if the bag was X-rayed at Brisbane
Airport, and what that revealed about its contents.

GEOFFREY ASKEW: On that particular occasion last year, there was no screening occurring by
regulation at any of the domestic airports. Now, that has changed. We are looking for explosives in
baggage, we're not looking for drugs, and we screen and X-ray looking for explosives and prohibited
articles, not for drugs.

TRACEY BOWDEN: And what about security checks at the international airport before the flight to
Indonesia? The Sydney Airport Corporation says all bags presented by the airlines for Schapelle
Corby's flight were screened, but any images are only held for 72 hours.

ROBIN TAMPOE: I'd rather be going in there with a very positive defence case and having all of the
answers to what I see as essential and crucial to her case there. It's one of those things. If
something doesn't exist, you can't get it.

TRACEY BOWDEN: One after another the items on Robin Tampoe's wish list were eliminated. With only a
few sitting days left in Schapelle Corby's trial, Robin Tampoe is desperate. A talkback session on
ABC's Triple J radio raised a possible lead.

ROBIN TAMPOE: We believe that those drugs were never intended for Indonesia. Those drugs were put
in her bag in Brisbane, after the bags left her control, and they were to be intercepted by
somebody in Sydney, and removed. That's what we believe has gone on here. And, for whatever reason,
they weren't intercepted on the other end and they've ended up in the wrong destination. They've
ended up in Indonesia.

TRACEY BOWDEN: What about video surveillance of the areas behind the scenes where baggage travels?

GEOFFREY ASKEW: Okay. We have sophisticated CCTV system throughout our network. But we don't have
it in baggage make-up areas. We're not in the business of spying on staff.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Is Qantas aware of any issue at all with domestic drug trafficking by people who
have access to those areas?

GEOFFREY ASKEW: No. There's been a number of incidents where passengers have been apprehended by
the law enforcement agencies in the possession of drugs, but certainly I'm not aware of where staff
have been involved in moving drugs between Brisbane and Sydney. No.

TRACEY BOWDEN: Late today a breakthrough for the defence team. A witness has come forward claiming
he knows who really shipped the drugs. In a signed statement now sent to the Australian Federal
Police, he names names and offers corroborating accounts. The lawyers here outline what the
statement asserts. "A man whom we are not in a position to name has come forward and offered
information by way of a sworn statement to the effect that he is aware of persons involved in
domestic drug trafficking between Brisbane and Sydney..." and moreover is aware that these same
persons, whom he has named, were responsible for planting 4.1 kilograms - approximately 10 pounds -
of marijuana in Schapelle Corby's boogie board bag unbeknownst to her. The figurehead of this
particular domestic drug trafficking ring us currently incarcerated for drug matters." While a
positive development for the defence, there's a big difference between fresh evidence and Schapelle
Corby's acquittal. Jodie Power is preparing to travel to Bali one more time. She says her life
won't return to normal until Schapelle Corby's does.

JODIE POWER: Like I said to Schapelle, I don't want to wake up in the middle of night and think
about you anymore. I don't want to wake up in the morning and think about you. It's not normal.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The trial is due to resume in Bali tomorrow, but the defence is seeking an
adjournment to round off that evidence. Tracy Bowden with that special report, produced by Deb