29 July 2005
Mr Hotman Paris Hutapea
Hotman Paris & Partners
Summitman Tower I, 18th Floor
Jelan Jenderal Sudirman Kavling, 61-62
INDONESIA By facsimile 0011 62 21 2522234
I refer to the hearing in the Denpasar District Court scheduled for 3 August 2005 and
4 August 2005 to receive further evidence for Schapelle Corby’s appeal against her conviction
for drug related charges.
As I have previously advised, the conduct of the appeal is a matter for you and the other
members of Ms Corby’s legal team. However, the Australian Government has an ongoing
interest in this matter, and as the dates of the hearing are approaching, I would appreciate your
urgent advice on the issues raised in this letter.
Qantas and Sydney airport witnesses
I understand Qantas has provided you with statements of at least two persons who have
volunteered to give evidence, and that Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd (SACL) has provided
you with the names and contact details of around thirteen persons who have also volunteered
to give evidence.
While I understand you are in direct contact with both Qantas and SACL, I would appreciate
your advice as to whether the necessary arrangements have been made with both Qantas and
SACL for these persons to give evidence before the Denpasar District Court at the hearing.
As I advised you in my letters of 8 July 2005, 13 July 2005 and 19 July 2005 the Australian
Government is prepared to make available video link facilities for any person who wishes to
give evidence on behalf of Ms Corby but who is unable or unwilling to travel to Indonesia.
You have yet to advise me whether the Denpasar District Court has authorised the taking of
evidence from witnesses in Australia by video link as I asked in my letters of 13 July 2005
and 19 July 2005.
As I informed you in my letter of 19 July 2005, if the Denpasar District Court agrees to hear
evidence by video link, witnesses can attend any of the following Australian Federal Police
facilities to give their evidence:
Australian Federal Police Melbourne Office
383 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Telephone (within Australia): (03) 9607 7777
Australian Federal Police Sydney Office
110 Goulbourn Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone (within Australia): (02) 9286 4000
Australian Federal Police Brisbane Office
203 Wharf Street
Spring Hill Queensland 4000
Telephone (within Australia): (07) 3222 1222
Could you please provide a list of all witnesses who have volunteered to give evidence from
Australia, the order in which they will be called, and from which city it is proposed they give
As I have previously noted in my letters of 13 July 2005 and 19 July 2005, it is your
responsibility to ensure that the witnesses attend at these facilities to give evidence. In relation
to each witness can you please advise the date and time which they will attend the video link
facility to give evidence.
As I noted in my letters of 13 July 2005 and 19 July 2005 any costs associated with giving
evidence by video link will need to be borne by Ms Corby and her defence team at first
instance. The financial assistance that Ms Corby has sought from the Australian Government
under the Special Circumstances (Overseas) Scheme may cover witness expenses. Details of
the witnesses and the costs to be incurred should be provided to the Financial Assistance
Branch in the Attorney-General’s Department as soon as available.
Access to witnesses in Victoria
As advised in my letter of 13 July 2005, I wrote to the Victorian Minister for Corrections on
13 July 2005 to pass on your request for Ronnie Vigensa, ‘Terry’, and ‘Paul’ to give evidence
in Ms Corby’s appeal. This request was passed on to these men, along with your details so
that they could contact you if they wished to give evidence.
Each of these men has previously been approached by the AFP in connection with the
statement given by Mr John Ford. Statements of Mr Vigensa and Mr Liam Kiernan were
provided to you on 24 March 2005 and again with my letter of 8 July 2005 while ‘Paul’ and
‘Terry’ declined to offer any assistance to Ms Corby’s defence team at that time. ‘Paul’, who
is in custody, has now voluntarily provided the Australian Federal Police with a statement of
the evidence he can give. A copy of this statement was provided to you on 27 July 2005.
In the absence of a mutual assistance request the Australian Government would not be able to
arrange for ‘Paul’ to give evidence in Indonesia as he is in custody. In any event, ‘Paul’ has
said in his statement that he will not travel to Indonesia to give evidence. He has however,
consented to giving evidence by means of video link. To facilitate this I urgently require your
advice as to whether the Denpasar District Court will allow ‘Paul’ to give evidence in this
manner, and the proposed time of such evidence so that arrangements can be made with
authorities in Victoria for him to be transported to a video link facility.
Access to witnesses in New South Wales
I understand that the NSW Minister for Corrections, The Hon. John Hatzistergos MLC, has
advised you that members of his Department had approached Mr Kyran Terry to ask if he was
willing to give evidence at Ms Corby’s hearing. Mr Terry has stated that he is not willing to
Immunity from prosecution in Australia
You have raised the issue of immunity from prosecution in Australia in respect of a number of
witnesses. As I advised in my letters of 13 July 2005 and 26 July 2005, if you are seeking
immunity from prosecution for particular witnesses you should approach the relevant DPP
depending on whether the offence is a state offence or a Commonwealth offence. To
facilitate this, I provided you with the contact details for the Commonwealth Director of
Public Prosecutions and relevant state authorities.
I understand you are in direct contact with the relevant state and Commonwealth authorities
and I am aware that each of these has informed you of their requirements for considering
immunity from prosecution.
I note that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has informed you that the
names and statements of witnesses seeking indemnity can be provided to the Director on the
basis that they will be considered only for the purpose of considering an indemnity
application and will not be used for any other purpose, including prosecution action.
Accordingly, disclosure of this information will not prejudice any potential witness.
In light of your concerns regarding the issue of immunity from prosecution in Australia, it is
important that you work with the relevant authorities with a view to providing the information
they require as soon as possible.
As I have previously indicated to members of Ms Corby’s legal team, commencing with my
letter of 10 June 2005 to Lily Lubis, Erwin Siregar and Haposan Sibombing, Australia can
provide an increased range of assistance in this matter if the Indonesian Government makes a
request for mutual legal assistance. I have also raised the issue of mutual assistance in my
letters of 12 June 2005, 17 June 2005, 24 June 2005, 8 July 2005, 13 July 2005 and 19 July
As I noted in my letter of 19 July 2005, whilst the Australian Government is unable to compel
any witness to travel to Indonesia to give evidence, if a mutual assistance request is received it
may be possible to arrange for the witness to give relevant evidence via video link from a
court in Australia. Alternatively, any relevant evidence may be able to be taken in a court in
Australia and a transcript provided to the Indonesian court. As I have previously noted, most
recently in my letter of 19 July 2005, any request from Indonesia would have to be considered
in accordance with Australian law and the Treaty between Australia and the Republic of
Indonesia in Criminal matters.
A mutual assistance request would also enable persons who are held in custody in Australia to
be transferred to Indonesia to give evidence if they consent to do so.
As I also noted in my letters of 13 July 2005 and 19 July 2005, without a mutual assistance
request the Australian Government cannot seek appropriate immunities from the Indonesian
Government for witnesses travelling to Indonesia.
While to date our correspondence has taken place in English, if it would be of assistance, I am
happy to have any of the information I have provided to you translated.
For your information, I will be in Jakarta between 2 and 4 August 2005 and will be available
to meet with you on the evening of 2 August 2005 should you wish or, subject to
appointments, such other time we mutually agree.
Senator for Western Australia
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT
Corby lawyer pushes for Govt help
Reporter: Tracey Bowden
MAXINE McKEW: In four days time Schapelle Corby will turn 28. And earlier this week, she must have thought she had been delivered an early birthday present when the Indonesian High Court announced it would re-open her case. But just what fresh evidence can her new lawyer, the flamboyant Hotman Paris Hutapea present? He insists his case will live or die based on how much help he gets from the Australian Government. But authorities here say his demands amount to little more than a wish-list of potential witnesses who have already been interviewed by the Australian Federal Police and cannot be compelled to give evidence. Tracey Bowden reports.
TRACEY BOWDEN: Just days ago it was looking as though the flashy Indonesian lawyer they call the ‘miracle worker’ had performed another one. Hotman Paris Hutapea had convinced the Indonesian High Court to re-open the Schapelle Corby case.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA, DEFENCE LAWYER: The judge in the High Court is more senior. They do understand this is between death and life for Corby, so they give her a chance.
REPORTER: Do you remember her exact words when you told her the news that the trial was going to be re-opened?
MERCEDES CORBY: She was sort of just a little bit quiet at first and just, ‘Oh!’
MERCEDES CORBY: Surprised and, yeah, she was very happy, very hopeful.
TRACEY BOWDEN: The judges have agreed to hear fresh evidence from a string of Australian witnesses, from baggage handlers to airport check-in staff to prisoners, but they’ve made it very clear that the only one they really want to hear from is the person the defence team claims put the 4.1kg of marijuana in Schapelle Corby’s body board bag. The big question – can Hotman Paris Hutapea deliver?
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: I’m good enough to handle this case but your Government not good enough to give me evidence. What do we need? Only witness, witness, witness, witness and evidence.
SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON, JUSTICE MINISTER: Really, there is a limit to what the Australian Government can do. We’ve always said what we can do within the bounds of the law, in reality, we will do.
TRACEY BOWDEN: For the Government it’s a case of deja vu. Lawyers representing Schapelle Corby asking for information that doesn’t exist or has already been provided.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: I don’t think any stupid person will come forward to say that I’m the one that put the drug if he knows that the Government is not yet considered or maybe considered, maybe not, to give him immunity. Now time is the essence, only three weeks left. Your government must say, “I hereby declare immunity to anybody who make a confession without any condition.”
SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: The witnesses have to be willing to assist. We cannot compel anyone to travel to Indonesia to give evidence against their will. So, that is the first thing that everyone has to understand. The second thing is that if someone is in prison or wants immunity in Indonesia, then the path that has to be followed is via the mutual assistance treaty between Indonesia and Australia.
TRACEY BOWDEN: From the outset, Schapelle Corby’s legal team has been a grab-bag affair, starting with Lily Lubis, the first English-speaking lawyer they could find, later joined by mobile phone entrepreneur Ron Bakir back and his lawyer Robin Tampoe.
ROBIN TAMPOE, FORMER DEFENCE LAWYER: I’d rather be going in in with a very positive defence case and having all of the answers to what I see as essential and crucial to her case there, but it’s one of those things. If something doesn’t exist, you can’t get it.
TRACEY BOWDEN: The defence team’s evidence failed to convince the judges. Schapelle Corby was convicted and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. An appeal was immediately launched. Then the convicted drug trafficker sacked her original legal team, hired Hotman Paris Hutapea, sacked him, then rehired him. Now he seems to be making the same demands the previous defence team did.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: We need evidence from your Government because Corby is your citizen. That’s why now we need evidence from Australia. I just give a very logic legal request to the court and they understood. But of course this addition hearing will be nothing without the witness and evidence.
TRACEY BOWDEN: Two add to the legal dramas, Perth QC Mark Trowell asked by the Australian Government to get involved, was widely criticised after he claimed that a member of the defence team had asked for $500,000 to bribe the judges.
REPORTER: Do you think Mark Trowell should be sacked?
MERCEDES CORBY: Well…
REPORTER: Her question.
MERCEDES CORBY: It’s up to the lawyers.
REPORTER: But I mean, have you lost confidence in him after what he did?
MERCEDES CORBY: I’m just going to leave it up to the lawyers.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: I say ‘yes’.
MERCEDES CORBY: He says ‘yes’.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: You say ‘yes’ because I say ‘yes’.
MERCEDES CORBY: I say what you say.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: Ok, I say yes.
TRACEY BOWDEN: So just what does Hotman Paris Hutapea have up his sleeve? Well, it’s not clear.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: And my strategy is if I fail to get a witness to testify that the drug belonged to somebody, then at least I’ll have another witness to increase the concept of beyond reasonable doubt under our laws. Who knows the judge one day will apply the same legal concept as they apply in the Michael Jackson case, which is the concept of reasonable doubt.
TRACEY BOWDEN: The Federal Government says it is doing all it can to help, but that it can’t compel people to give evidence that might incriminate them and is bound by privacy laws not to identify Customs officers.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: I’m not asking your Custom officers how many girlfriends he has. I’m not asking his private life. I’m going to ask him, “Did you do the job properly on the day Corby left?” The point is your Government always tries to get an excuse not to help Corby.
SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: I reject outright that if the appeal fails it will be the fault of the Australian Government.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: So I’m not Mr Clean, but for this case temporarily I am clean.
TRACEY BOWDEN: The flamboyant lawyer has admitted in the past he might have used ‘thank you’ money to win cases, but not this time.
HOTMAN PARIS HUTAPEA: There is no lawyer in the world is clean. All the lawyer usually hypocrisy help and I try to reduce my hypocrisy a little bit. If you keep saying Australian lawyer, American lawyer they are all clean, that’s totally bullshit.
TRACEY BOWDEN: Once again, time is ticking away for Schapelle Corby. Her legal team has only until the end of the month to come up with some witnesses. If there are no witnesses, there can be no hearing.