May 27, 2005 | Graham

Corby and the battle of Waterloo

Schapelle Corby has been found guilty under a system of law which is very similar to many other systems which draw their provenance from France – an indirect legacy of the Napoleonic Empire. It should be a basic human right that in criminal matters one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is not the case under the continental system.
On Line Opinion’s top rating article at the moment takes the view that as long as due process in Indonesia has been followed, then we should abide by the judgement. This is a crock.
Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Human Being says: “(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”
The term “law” is not well-defined, but I would suggest should be read as subsidiary to the presumption of innocence. Indonesia’s legal system, in common with many of those in Europe, breach this clause. Being in good company is not a sufficient alibi for the Indonesian legal system, or any other.
It’s about time that we campaigned to extend this important article of the Declaration to those who suffer under the continental system, and finish off the job that Wellington started at Waterloo.

Posted by Graham at 11:05 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. I am so glad that you articulated this point so well, it hadn’t even occured to me that the assumption of innocence was a human right which of course it should be. Now I feel good about myself, thanks alot.
    ps. check out the new blog, it will be filled with some good content just as soon as I finish my notes on Machiavelli and Bertrand Russell.

    Comment by Benno — May 29, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

  2. Not more blog spam! So you’ve got a blog too? 😉
    Actually, while the right to a presumption of innocence is a basic human right, I’m not sure that “beyond reasonable doubt” is enshrined in any charters, although I’d argue it was also a basic human right when there are substantial penalties applying to the crime if proven.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 29, 2005 @ 10:21 pm

  3. Well said, Graham! Many Australians who are legal laypersons, even while not convinced whether Schapelle is guilty or not, have felt unease about what they heard emanating from the Indonesian legal system. It just didn’t seem to have the sense of even-handedness that we tend to take for granted. If the judge in the Rodney Adler case had behaved like the judge in Corby’s case, we’d have been outraged.

    Comment by Rob Brennan — May 30, 2005 @ 8:59 pm

  4. You are right Graham.How many others like Shappelle are rotting in Indonesian goals?If you cross the authorities in this country,they can put you away for life or worse.
    If they fix their corruption problems,perhaps they can fix their poverty problems too.

    Comment by arjay — May 30, 2005 @ 9:07 pm

  5. unfortunately people in australia are convicted with exactly the same evidence for the same crime.
    Luckily – with state labor governments across the country – they will most likely receive a good behaviour bond – and not a 20 year sentence.
    But under sir Joh it would have been 14 years.
    “innocent until guilty” has never applied to drug convictions in australia. Possession is all that is required.

    Comment by alphacoward — June 3, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.