Call for reward to clear Corby


TWO Tweed Shire retirees have called on the federal government to post a substantial reward for information which could help prove the innocence of Schapelle Corby, now serving a 20-year drug-smuggling sentence in Bali.

Ron Hetherington, of Cabarita, and Robert Hare of Murwillumbah, believe a Crimestoppers-type reward up to $1 million would help unearth information which could lead to the conviction of anyone who may have been involved in planting the 4.1kg of marijuana in Corby's bag.

Their call follows revelations this week of a secret Australian Customs Service report, completed last September, which found some Sydney airport workers had been involved in drug smuggling.

The report prompted industry experts yesterday to suggest that other Australian airports were probably part of any drug smuggling operation involving Sydney airport.

Corby's defence team claimed during her trial she was the victim of such a network.

Mr Hetherington said he wanted to do something positive to help Schapelle Corby, rather than promote a negative reaction such as imposing boycotts on Bali.

"To try and punish Indonesia by boycotting Bali and demanding donations to Aceh tsunami victims back is fruitless and totally unAustralian," Mr Hetherington said.

"To do so in my view is nothing less than lowering ourselves to the level of the Indonesian legal system and its enforcers."

"Those people who reside in Parliament House, Canberra, are the ones who should be the target of expressions of anger. From not one have I seen since this sorry situation began the required amount of courage to take on John Howard and beat him over his pitiful attempt to get us to believe he is doing as much as he can.

"Sadly, courage has only been displayed by an exemplary young lady."

A spokesman for Justice Minister Chris Ellison yesterday said "no proposal has been put to us" to post a reward and "I wouldn't be prepared to comment until we see a proposal in writing".

"The Minister has already urged anyone with information to forward it to the (Schapelle Corby's) defence team and their QCs," he said.

An Australian Federal Police spokeswoman said there was no AFP investigation into the Corby matter, as it happened in Indonesia.

That is despite the AFP investigating domestic and international drug smuggling operations within Australia.

Mr Hetherington said if the federal government failed to post a reward then residents of Tweed Shire could lead a fundraising effort.

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