Corby could do time in Australia

DENPASAR - Australia wants to negotiate a one-off prisoner transfer so Schapelle Corby can serve her sentence in an Australian jail if she is found guilty of drug smuggling.

Justice Minister Chris Ellison says Australian officials are ready to negotiate a transfer to an Australian jail for Corby, who will learn her fate around 5pm tomorrow.

An international law expert at Sydney University, Professor Don Rothwell, said a one-off treaty would be unprecedented.

Lawyers for Corby, 27, have welcomed the news of a possible transfer deal for the Gold Coast woman, but Indonesian officials are wary.

A wider prisoner transfer agreement between Australia and Indonesia is being negotiated, but Ellison says an interim deal to get Corby back to Australia sooner is being contemplated.

"It is good news - we’ll have to wait and see what comes of it," lawyer Robin Tampoe said as he entered Bali’s Kerobokan prison to visit Corby.

Tampoe was accompanied by Corby backer, Gold Coast businessman Ron Bakir, and Corby’s sister Mercedes.

Tampoe said Corby’s legal team were optimistic the deal would not be needed.

"We are very optimistic she will be acquitted - so is she."

Corby denies knowledge of how a 4.1kg bag of marijuana came to be in her body-board bag when she arrived in Bali on holiday.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said the transfer plan was a slippery slope. "If we make a special arrangement in this case an argument might be made when other cases come up by the loved ones of people who get into trouble."

Australia’s Channel Seven network reported that Corby had been subjected to racial insults and abuse from Amrozi, the so-called "smiling" Bali bomber. Mr Tampoe said Corby was exercising in the jail compound when Amrozi yelled abuse from his cell.

- AAP

 

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