Corby?s legal team gamble



AN Australian prisoner will today become accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby's best chance of escaping a death sentence when he takes the stand in a Bali court.

Corby's legal team will ignore court warnings that the appearance of Victorian remand inmate John Ford could backfire.

They will ask him to testify that Corby was an unwitting courier used by a ring of Australian drug traffickers.

In order to avoid possible reprisals including a gangland hit on their star witness, Corby's lawyers said they would also seek a court order for Ford's evidence to be heard in secret.

Ford was flown into Bali Sunday amid tight security and fears he could risk his life by recounting what Australian police have said is at best "hearsay" evidence Corby is innocent.

He signed a statement for her lawyers and later told Australian Federal Police that he overheard a conversation among other prisoners in jail that the 27-year-old Tugun beauty student was the victim of a domestic drug smug- gling operation gone wrong.

That suspicion was later confirmed in a second conversation he took part in, he said.

Ford told Corby's lawyers he could not live with himself if he failed to testify in the case.

Corby was arrested last October after Indonesian customs and police found 4.1 kilograms of marijuana in her unlocked boogie board bag as she passed through Denpasar airport.

She has maintained her innocence and said the pillow case-sized stash must have been placed there during the domestic transit leg of her trip between Brisbane and Sydney.

Granting an adjournment last week to give Corby's legal team more time, judges at the Denpasar District Court warned Ford's evidence could backfire on Corby.

But her main financial backer, Gold Coast businessman Ron Bakir said Ford could be Corby's last chance to beat a possible firing squad.

"We've got to take every opportunity and use it," he said. - AAP



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