Changes Needed To International Aviation Law

One thing that this case highlights is the safety of air travel is once again in question. If you lock your case and wrap it up to avoid tampering you could be in breach of anti terrorism legislation in some countries that requires that your baggage be inspectable. On the other hand, leaving it unlocked presents you with problems such as Schapelle has experienced.

One key piece of evidence in this case (there’s actually a few pieces of evidence the defence should have picked up on but appeared to not make a big enough issue of, but this is to me, the primary one) is listed in an Australian News article;

The defence was also unable to prove the weight of Corby’s bag when she checked in at Brisbane airport, since all the bags were weighed together and police in Bali did not weigh all the bags for an overall comparison.

The weighing of the baggage would show one way or the other (unless I’ve missed something?) whether the bags were tampered with between the time of Schapelle checking them in and picking them up. If the bags differ by 4 kilos, she has to be innocent. If they weigh the same, she is guilty. That doesn’t take much forensics to work out, and surely is indicative?

On that note, all check ins at international airports should weigh all luggage and indicate the weight on your boarding card. At the other end, in cases such as this, all the baggage is weighed again and then a decision is significantly easier. There’s little extra burden on check in staff because bags are already weighed – and the only extra burden would be where something suspicious is discovered.

I’m utterly aghast that there’s no video of the initial contact between customs officers and Schapelle, and no voice recordings of the interviews between her and customs. That alone should be enough to show something is wrong in this case. I’m aghast that no finger printing was done on the bag, and that it was ‘manhandled by officials’.

I suspect that in England this case would be overthrown because there are so many technical problems with the prosecution evidence that the jury would not be able to find the suspect guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But of course, this is a different legal system.

But we should start campaigning for changes in international aviation law to ensure that baggage is weighed and documented, and records kept to avoid injustices such as this. No-one is safe from these injustices, and Schapelle is the proof.


  1. Even if guilty, the sentence is much too harsh. I do hope efforts to remove her from the country to serve her term in Australia at least are successful. I do hope that she is cleared completely in some way.

  2. I could see if she was smuggling cocaine or something really bad like that but pot hardly warrents a 20 year sentance.

    Lets just assume for a minute that she’s guilty. The reality of drug mules (smugglers) is that they’re just paid to do that and rarely have any association with the drug beyond crossing it over the border. THey need to be nailing the people pushing the drug on the street and making and selling the drug in the home country. You know? THe mules are just a tool.

    And I had no idea they weighed our baggage when we flew. Well maybe I did but I thought it was for reference for the plane weight and that the bag weight was just anumber on a piece of paper not associated with anyone piece of a baggage.

  3. I too thought that punishment to be too severe. The article I read indicated that country doesn’t differentiate between pot or heroin, a drug is a drug, and they couldn’t have imposed the death sentence. Twenty years for 9 pounds of marijuana is just crazy.

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