(PRWEB) December 31, 2008
When Schapelle Corby found herself in an Indonesian court in February 2005 accused of importing marijuana, she was faced with an almost impossible task: from the inside of a prison cell she had to identify who had placed the drugs in her unlocked boogie-board bag.
One of the two main theories presented to her was that they were placed in Australia by baggage handlers to ship the drugs interstate. However, it has emerged that a far more complex airport scenario was entirely possible. The International Legal Research Group announces today that research conducted by Dr Adrian Bradford using a Freedom of Information request has revealed significant fresh evidence, which embraces an international drug transportation ring.
ABOUT SCHAPELLE CORBY
Schapelle Corby was sentenced to an unprecedented 20 year prison term in 2005. This followed a highly contentious case in which her prosecutors refused to fingerprint or test the evidence, refused to test the drugs for country of origin, and subsequently incinerated them (2). Other factors included the case record of the senior judge who had never acquitted a drug related defendant (3), and the disparate value of the drugs between the two countries.
THE NEW INFORMATION
Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, Dr. Adrian Bradford, has discovered that a South American plane carrying a shipment of illegal drugs was on the ground at Sydney international Airport at exactly the same time Schapelle Corby passed through in transit to Bali.
"The significance of this is enormous", said Dr Bradford. "It is entirely possible that the consignment of cocaine, which was central to a joint investigation by Australian Federal Police and the NSW Crime Commission called Operation Mocha, was linked to the drugs which were found in Schapelle's luggage," says Dr. Bradford.
"The moment news broke in early May 2005 that Operation Mocha had smashed a cocaine smuggling ring using baggage handlers to bypass Customs checks at Sydney airport on the same day Schapelle was there, I immediately suspected that the drugs shipment was the source of the drugs found in Schapelle's bag. Until now there have only been reports that the two planes were at Sydney airport on 8th October 2004 but no indication whether the two planes were at the airport at the same time. To clear up the confusion, I lodged a freedom of information request with Air Services Australia."
The FOI request was posted on 10th November 2008 and the reply from Air Services Australia was received on December 3rd 2008.
The FOI reveals that on 8th October 2004 Lan Airlines flight 801 with the drugs shipment on board landed at Sydney International Airport at 7:50 am while Australian Airlines flight AO7829, which Schapelle Corby and 3 companions travelled to Bali on, departed Sydney at 11:12 am.
"That's an overlap of just under three and a half hours!" he exclaimed.
Schapelle Corby, Alyth McComb and Katrina Richards departed Brisbane on QF501 which landed in Sydney at 7:30 am before catching their connecting flight to Bali. Corby has always maintained her innocence and argued in her trial that baggage handlers were responsible for placing the drugs in her luggage.
"So it is entirely possible that the drugs were switched to Schapelle's bag for some reason by a corrupt baggage handler. There are a couple of incidents in North America where police have arrested airport workers smuggling marijuana and cocaine simultaneously. With the volumes reported it sounds like these crime gangs got away with it on previous occasions. "(4)
"It wouldn't surprise me if a sophisticated crime ring would try smuggling marijuana and cocaine into Australia and maybe this is what happened on that day. Perhaps the marijuana was placed in Schapelle's unlocked bag to draw potential sniffer dogs away from the cocaine. Once the cocaine was clear of the airport, the marijuana was meant to be removed as well. But instead of this happening the drugs went through to Bali."
"I am excited that I have now proven that Schapelle's transit in Sydney did indeed overlap with the plane carrying the cocaine. The odds of this being coincidental must surely be astronomical. This has never been reported in the media before. It would be wonderful if this new fact formed the basis of another extraordinary appeal by Schapelle," added Dr Bradford.
"Operation Mocha also has its unique problems," he continued. "It was headed by former Assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission Mark Standen who was arrested for conspiring to import drugs into Australia (5). He also approved that NSW police could sell 7Kg of cocaine on Sydney streets to gather evidence against the drug ring." (6)
Dr Bradford has a PhD in Chemistry from Adelaide University. He now lives in Perth.
The relevant details of the FOI can be viewed at: http://www.thelegalresearchgroup.org/foi.jpg
The new evidence found by Dr Bradford carries a number of implications and raises an equal number of questions. It is now entirely possible that the marijuana was placed in Schapelle Corby's bag at Sydney airport.
Equally, however, it is certain to increase pressure for answers to questions relating to missing CCTV footage from the same airport, which Schapelle Corby desperately pleaded for, to support her defence that her luggage did not contain drugs at check-in. Such footage was never forthcoming, amidst a range of claims, including that the cameras were not operating. Now, given proof of the timing, how credible is it that those cameras were switched off, in the midst of such a large international drug smuggling operation?
Dr Bradford can be contacted via Adrian@thelegalresearchgroup.com. TLRG can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) FOI data: http://www.thelegalresearchgroup.org/foi.jpg