Shattered Corby collapses in court

WEEPING uncontrollably, and surrounded by a tightly packed phalanx of cameras, Schapelle Corby crumpled in her seat, minutes before the start of the day’s hearing.

It was the climax of a day of drama in the Indonesian trial of the 27-year-old Gold Coast beauty school student, which also saw her sister Mercedes Corby hitting a cameraman and vaulting a courtroom guard rail.

Schapelle Corby slumped on to her Indonesian interpreter’s shoulder as her sister leapt the rail to help.

Laid on a bench with her head on her interpreter’s lap, Ms Corby appeared unconscious for a few minutes. Her mother, Rosleigh Corby, burst into tears and her father, Michael Corby, began shouting at the press pack.

A short time later, the three judges entered the courtroom and chief judge Linton Sirait warned Ms Corby he could order the reading of the prosecution’s submission to begin.

“Don’t make it up,” he said, referring to her illness.

“If you make it up, I will insist the reading continues immediately.”

The three-judge panel finally adjourned the hearing for a week, and ordered Ms Corby back to the prison for a medical examination.

“Last week the reason (for an adjournment) was illness,” Judge Sirait said. “Today the reason is illness again.”

A doctor provided by the Australian consulate-general examined Ms Corby as she lay on the courtroom bench, and told the judges the distraught woman had very low blood pressure. She suggested oxygen, total rest, and a couple of days of medical observation.

The prosecution was expected to recommend a heavy sentence yesterday, with some experts suggesting a life sentence was likely, though a sentence of death remained a possibility.

Two of Ms Corby’s legal advisers were in Jakarta, continuing a last-ditch lobbying attempt for a lenient prosecution submission.

Ms Corby, arrested in Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport last October when a customs official found 4.1kg of marijuana in her unlocked body-board bag, has steadfastly maintained her innocence. Yet Indonesia has been notoriously tough on drugs offenders, and three foreign criminals were executed in the provincial capital Medan last year.

Ms Corby arrived at the complex in central Denpasar crying and clutching her side, presaging her collapse in court. A moving scrum of journalists hindered her journey to a holding cell, and the Indonesian female prisoner handcuffed to Ms Corby fainted or fell.

A police officer scooped Ms Corby up in his arms and carried her onwards. Mercedes Corby, who was stumbling alongside her sister, lost her temper and hit a cameraman with her handbag.

According to one of Ms Corby’s lawyers, the prison doctor recommended a full check-up in hospital, which the judges were expected to agree to late yesterday. “The prison doctor said the indications are that she is depressed,” said lawyer Erwin Siregar. “She’s got diarrhea and she threw up.”

Schapelle Corby in the courthouse holding cells.