Saturday, April 30, 2005
Prisoner said Corby is a victim of criminals and cowards
VICTORIAN prisoner John Patrick Ford has asserted that Schapelle Corby was "a victim of domestic drug trafficking run by petty criminals and cowards". He told a Bali court yesterday some people in the drug world thought it was a joke that she was "going to get done for it".In two hours of evidence at Ms Corby's Bali trial, the 40-year-old said he had heard two other prisoners, whom he named only as Terry and Paul, talking about drug trafficking and about how the drug's owner had lost some more marijuana en route from Brisbane to Sydney.He could not remember the surnames of Terry or Paul, but Mr Ford named the man he said was the owner of the 4.1kg of marijuana found in Ms Corby's boogie board bag as *****.But he refused to name the man he says actually put the drugs there."I am 100 per cent certain if I mention this person's name connected to this case I will be killed, very likely Ms Corby as well, just to prove a point," he said, when pressed by the judges on why he had told them he was willing to be a witness but now refused to name the man he says is the true culprit.Mr Ford explained his reticence by saying he had already been threatened, and so had his daughter.He is on remand in Port Phillip Prison on charges of aggravated burglary, making a threat to kill, common law assault and recklessly causing injury in what he said was "a domestic incident".He said the charges against him had been cut from 18 to four.In a quiet, at times barely audible voice he said he had come to Bali to give evidence at "great personal risk", and there was no benefit to him.A distraught Ms Corby, 27, arrived at court in a flood of tears and was highly emotional throughout, crying as she sat beside her lawyers listening to the evidence they said was her best chance of being declared innocent of charges that carry a maximumpenalty of death.Mr Ford said he heard several conversations in jail, about last September and November, but initially had not believed them, saying "90 per cent of prisoners talk rubbish 100 per cent of the time".He said that in a November talk, Terry and Paul told him they thought it was "funny" the drugs had ended up in Indonesia.Asked if he might be mistaken as to who or what they were discussing, or whether he might have assumed this after seeing a TV program on Ms Corby's case, Mr Ford said: "No, it was definitely Ms Corby's bag . . . they found it quite funny ***** lost more drugs between Brisbane and Sydney."Asked by Chief Judge Linton Sirait if ***** ever told him he owned the drugs, Mr Ford said: "No, I never heard him say that. I understand he is denying that to police."The judge then asked if this meant he had just presumed it belonged to the man. "It is more than that. I know it belongs to him, based on what he said when I first met him, and based on what he said to other prisoners."After two hours, Mr Ford was asked if he had anything to add, and he launched into a spirited defence of Ms Corby."All I can say to the court (is) there is no way on God's earth Ms Corby is a drug trafficker," he said."I know better than that. I think the court can see that as well." My belief in that is so strong I will put my personal safety at risk, and I am not asking anything in return. I just want to see justice done."Next week prosecutors will outline what sentence they say Ms Corby should receive if she is convicted.