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Corby case a chilling reminder for people travelling abroad

UC criminologist says Corby case a chilling reminder for people travelling abroad

February 12, 2014

A University of Canterbury (UC) criminologist says the Schapelle Corby case in Indonesia is a reminder for people travelling abroad to be very careful about violating the laws of countries that they visit.

UC Professor Greg Newbold says if tourists are arrested for wrongdoing they may find that the rights of accused people are seldom as clear cut as they are in New Zealand and they may find that some crimes – such as smuggling marijuana – are regarded far more seriously in other jurisdictions than they are back home.

``Getting proper legal representation can be difficult and expensive, and prison conditions can be extremely harsh, especially in Asia.’’

Australian Schapelle Corby has been released from Kerobokan prison in Bali after being jailed for 20 years in 2005 for attempting to smuggle cannabis into Indonesia. Under her parole conditions there is no obligation on her to admit any responsibility for the 4.2 kilograms of marijuana found in her boogie board bag on October 8, 2004.

Professor Newbold says the landmark issues in the Corby case are that although she received a lesser penalty than the maximum possible life sentence, she still got a very long sentence for a crime that would not be regarded so seriously in her home country of Australia.

``The Indonesian authorities made an example of her in order to deter others who may contemplate taking similar risks.

``To be paroled after about half of a sentence is pretty normal in most countries and her reporting conditions are fairly standard as well. What is unusual is that she hasn’t been immediately deported. In New Zealand, we wouldn’t allow a criminal who had been convicted of a serious crime to continue to live in our country after release.

``Ahmad Mani, a member of the minority Islamic United Development Party, has said that Corby deserves the death penalty, stating that ‘we lose 50 children to drugs every day’. This figure may or may not be correct, but none of those deaths would have been due to marijuana.

``He obviously knows little about the properties of the drug. As a politician he would know, however, that the Indonesian government has an appalling history of population atrocities and human rights abuses which are far more frightening than any harms caused by the self-administration of drugs. Perhaps he should have mentioned that as well.’’

From the first semester starting February 24, UC has launched a new degree, Bachelor of Criminal Justice, which is the first of its kind ever offered in New Zealand.


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