Monday, June 16, 2008

The Beginning: Morpheus Meets Schapelle Corby

Until March 2008 I had never heard of Schapelle Corby. I am a busy guy: I run an internet business and have a wife and family to occupy any surplus time beyond that. I am also a Brit, and live on the other side of the planet to the locale of these events. The whole harrowing story had therefore escaped my attention completely.

Then it happened, the fateful search on 'Google Images'. I recall it quite vividly. I was seeking an image or design for one of our less than exciting legal web portals, and searched on something like 'law court', 'legal case' or similar. Amongst the myriad of search returns, which largely comprised thumbnails of grainy old judges and gavels, was the following:

It stood out like a sore thumb: a disturbing picture of innocence in distress. Like a fool I clicked it, totally unaware of the horror of I would subsequently uncover.

The text in the accompanying news article was stark and brutal. This young woman had been sentenced to 20 years in an Indonesian prison cell for apparently (yes, we'll come back to that) smugging cannabis into that country. STOP THERE! I certainly did. I stopped and re-read it. 20 YEARS? Surely not. Surely in any realistic scenario it will have been quashed or dramatically reduced on appeal?

Even from that first article it was also very clear that this was no ordinary 'trial'. There were scattered references to aspects which were quite simply outrageous. Off the top of my head I recall the refusal by police to forensically test the cannabis for origin, the refusal to fingerprint it, as well as some of the less than objective comments by the 'judge' during the trial itself. Yes, right from the off it had the pungent whiff of a show trial, transplanted to the modern era from the middle ages.

I felt a little sick as I rapidly searched Google on the term 'Schapelle Corby', half hoping and half expecting balance and sanity to be restored during the rest of the legal process. It quickly became apparent that this was not to be: other forces were at work. At the same pace, it became apparent that the issues above were just the tip of a very murky iceberg. Researching the trial and the circus around it revealed that the process had nothing whatsoever to do with seeking truth and justice, and everything to do with politics, corruption, and misplaced nationalist vengeance.

As with everyone who has scratched the surface of this, a host of questions entered my mind:
- Why was this allowed to happen?
- What the hell have the Aussie's been doing during the last 4 years?
- Why is no-one screaming at Indonesia that they have to respect human rights and release her?
- Can I do anything?

The former questions I will discuss in later posts: the answers reflect badly on just about everyone except Schapelle and her family. The last question though was the most frustrating in the immediate term: I really really HATE feeling utterly powerless, especially with respect to something important. But what could I possibly do? I thought 'nothing', so bookmarked the original page, and got on with running the company.

Well... that was the plan anyway. In reality I couldn't let it go. It was like a splinter in my mind. The vision of this poor woman suffering in a cage, and the barbarity of the sentence, returned frequently during the rest of the day. I even had difficulty sleeping.

The next day, back to the legal portal and thus the immediate trigger to put Schapelle back on the agenda for my thought processes. I delegated the portal development and spent some time conducting a more formal and detailed research exercise. The more I dug, the more unjust and hideously cruel it became. I therefore knew that I had to at least do SOMETHING to try to help.... however little help that might actually be.

Retrospectively, my journey was apparently exactly the same route as that embarked upon by most other decent folks: initial distress, anger at and hatred of those responsible, more distress, then frustration. I wanted to go to Bali and break her out personally.

But rationale and reality clearly has to prevail in the end, so I settled for using my skills and assets from here in the UK. The first manifestation of this was the development of this website, which the next post will cover.

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At July 6, 2008 1:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i live in Australia and this trial has been on for ages now. It is really sad,you know she was just 27 when they found the drugs.

I'm sorry but with the proof i think she's guilty but she should not be given 20 years!! it is practically the same as the death penalty. Whats the point of getting out at 40 years old??? It really is unfair. Specially how they haven't even done fingerprint scans.

You can help by:
-donating to Funds that help her
-Tell other people
-sign petitions
-Write her a letter!!!!! she does recieve them from jail!!! (search in googleto find mail)


At July 6, 2008 1:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

HERE IS addres::

Ms Schapelle Corby
C/- LPM Kerobokan JI.
Tangkuban Perahu Kerobokan,
Denpasar 80117 Bali,

At July 6, 2008 4:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is heartbreaking Morpheus. Anyone who can't see how terrible this is, needs to look at themselves. I feel so so bad for her.

Can I say as well that you are doing a great job with your website Mr. Credit to you.

At July 7, 2008 3:10 PM , Blogger mistymayhem said...

I don't believe that she is guilty AT ALL. I can't believe the ignorance of some people. I'm also disgusted by the fact that most people seem to have no souls. Compassionate human beings are apparently a dying breed. I became physically sick after seeing her documentary and as with you can't seem to get it out of my head. I have also felt outrage beyond words when I stumbled upon a site offering "Schapelle Tours". To think someone could actually be so heartless absolutely sickens me. I don't want to be one of those people that turn a blind eye to this. As if the situation itself isn't bad enough, we have the media vultures hounding this poor family. Even if she was guilty it wasn't proven and the punishment that she is receiving from their govn't (as well as her own) and the press and the people who are so eager to buy into everything that they read far outweighs the crime.

At July 23, 2008 10:41 PM , Anonymous michelle said...

Tears filled my eyes as the verdict of guilty with a sentence of 20 years was read to Schapelle. I have this overwhelming sence that she is innocent. Just keep in mind that this could happen to any of us, you, me, your mother, niece, son, or daugher. The fact that no finger printing or dna of the drugs was done just baffles my mind. I dont see how this was a fair trial by any stretch of the mind. I plan to write as many letter as I can including to Schapelle and authoraties. If you feel the need to help write a letter or two, just dont offend anyone. Thanks for the time of reading my opinion feel free to email me if you like I would love any other info you have.

At August 9, 2008 1:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gday guys,Im an ordinary aussie dude who remembers this ordeal well. To this day I have never seen one shread of evidence proving guilt. Infact didn't they put the onus on her to prove innocence? Well if someone is innocent isn't impossible to prove that they didn't do it thats why the onus is normally on the prosecution to prove one did do it,hence proven beyond reasonable doubt. Schapelle was never proven beyond resonable doubt.
This is the real hidden truth that can only grow as more and people become aware of it.
As for the blogs popping up like this one it nice to see that people throughout the world care about us Aussie's. One day our government will have no where left to hide.
Steveo, Perth

At December 11, 2008 1:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Brazil and I have been to Bali a few years ago... I really donĀ“t belive she is guilty.
I feel sorry for her.
You are a great person... thanks for this website.

At February 6, 2009 8:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I live in the USA and I saw this story about Schapelle Corby for the first time on HBO last night. I was unaware of something like this happened. I have been arrested for drug charges and I think being arrested for a couple grams and getting time in jail/prison is honestly unacceptable. After doing some research on Schapelle i feel for her so much and I want to help in anyway and as much as possible. A women like her should not be seeing 20 years in a international prison. Only god can put those who truly committed this crime to justice. Ive been thinking about Schapelle Corby all day now, you can only help but think what if this happened to me or one of my friends or even one of my family members. Other countries don't go to the extent that we would regularly go through to find a prisoner guilty. To see law officials smiling and laughing about this women crying broke my heart. I wish I could break you out of prison Schapelle. Prison is not made for no man or women. Yes i believe in punishment for the wrong but capital punishment for WEED! That is stupid, what about the rapist and murders? something has to absolutely be done about this injustice. I am going to make sure i do send a letter supporting her innocents.

At January 25, 2010 11:59 PM , Anonymous sonny said...

Hey Morpheus, its Sonny from London. I honestly thought I was cracking up at first. I have been researching similar 'offences' for a university project on international drugs policy, and have looked at cases involving girls in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, name it. I thought I was pretty hardened to emotion until I saw this case. I just can't leave it alone. The injustice is so grave that to walk away from this would feel like I was betraying my own values. I genuinely believe in her innocence. This is despite numerous Australians here in London telling me otherwise, or the Oz media reports of her families supposed activities. People ultimately act on incentive, its basic economics, and there is no incentive for this crime. I could go on and on about the legal problems, but the linchpin for me is the direction of traffic.....its inverse to any rational trafficking scenario. I am currently reading her book, and will be writing to her. I was planning to use my summer travelling in Australia anyway because I have friends there. I see myself getting active down under.


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