Children caught up in Corby emotion

By ED SOUTHORN

THE children suffered, too, when Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Among an emotional crowd of about 100 Corby family and friends who watched Schapelle's fate unfold on wide screen televisions upstairs at the Tugun Surf Life Saving Club last Friday, a number were children with their parents.

Nine-year-old Grace Hamilton of Tweed Heads, a Lakeside Christian College pupil, looked traumatised as the bad news began to sink in, amid the crying and screaming of Schapelle's supporters.

"I'm scared," Grace said, comforting her crying grandmother Rachelle Hamilton of Robina, who had led local Schapelle supporter groups.

Another younger child, Hayley Levier, of Tugun, was also distressed as she called out Schapelle's name.

Hayley's dad Robert Levier, a retired Victorian police officer with 30 years on the force, said the "appalling" guilty verdict and sentence were based on evidence which would have been "thrown out" in Australian courts.

Rachelle Hamilton wants a national inquiry into Australia's "open slather" airport security system, which she said had resulted in Schapelle becoming a "sacrificial lamb" for drug runners.

"We should be finding out who the people are who put the drugs in Schapelle's bag," Rachelle said.

As the verdict and sentence were read out, Schapelle's supporters gasped, screamed and cried.

Grace Hamilton's mum Michelle said Indonesia was acting like a "bad relative" after Australia had given so much humanitarian and mili- tary aid, especially after the Boxing Day tsunami.

Katrina Richards, Schapelle's friend who flew to Bali with Schapelle and was at Denpasar Airport when marijuana was found in Schapelle's boogie-board bag, said her mate needed to stay positive and strong.

Katrina and Schapelle's half-brother James Kasina both appeared briefly at the surf club, where Schapelle had often enjoyed herself with friends.

Katrina and James, who also flew to Bali with Schapelle, insisted his sister had denied she knew anything about the drugs when questioned by airport officials.

Lyn Lack of Jimboomba, a cousin of Schapelle's father Michael, was extremely emotional immediately after the sentencing and promised she would push on with a petition supporting Schapelle.



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