Is it just me or do you see stupidity everywhere?

We recently had an Australian, on drugs charges in Indonesia. It was a no brainer case, the drugs were in her bag. She claimed they were planted by someone else. Of course thats easy to say, very difficult to prove.

The trial occurred, according to Indonesian law. The maximum penalty available was death. The defendant ended up getting 20 years. Now, people are saying we should boycott Indonesia. That will really help. Do they have a brain? If so, why don’t they use it?

Who will it effect? The Indonesian governemnt or the poor locals who rely on our tourist dollars to survive. I’ll give you one guess.

Consider this example. An Australian arrives in LA, has drugs in luggage, get sentenced to 20 years. Do you think anyone would be calling for us to boycott the USA? Of course not.

In a poll, 75% of people said they believed she was innocent. Based upon what? Their feelings? How useful.

In truth the media coverage of this event, all the inane and stupid comments etc. only served to guarantee that the sentence handed down was hefty. The pressure was on, and the Indonesians had to stand up and show they wouldn’t be dictated to by foreigner’s. If it was handled quietly, there would have been more chance of a lenient sentence. 

Fair enough I say, we wouldn’t have any truck with foreigners meddling in our justice system. Why should we expect them to?


4 thoughts on “Stupidity”

  1. Hey Mark,

    I think if a foreigner was caught here smuggling in what we perceive to be a narcotic, e.g. heroin, then the public would be outraged if the person was let off the charge. However, the purpose of "law" is not to be wielded by the media and public outcry’s but to reach for justice. There-in lays the differences of the legal systems, one where a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and another where the person needs to prove their innocence. In a system where the person is presumed innocent until proved otherwise the notion of reasonable doubt comes into play.

    Whether or not she was guilty, the question of reasonable doubt should be given credence. The bags were not in her control for a lengthy period of time. The bags were however in control of other people, where we have recently seem just the tip of the iceberg exposed with the sackings of baggage handlers that were indeed involved in drug smuggling. So we have to ask the question "is there reasonable doubt" ? If it was say a prominent politician or business man who’s bags were found to contain the drugs, would the law apply equally to them as to anyone else ? Shouldn’t it ? Or do only the wealthy get "reasonable doubt" ?

    So the question is, did the person get a fair trial ? Is it reasonable to treat everyone the same ? If your bags are tampered with, should you be held to blame ? If you were truly innocent, would you think it right that you had to spend 20 years in jail ?

    I don’t agree or disagree that she may be guilty. I really don’t have enough information on that. But if the premise is it was worth her while to smuggle drugs into the country, then the same must be said for those who were known to be operating a drug smuggling ring. Passengers on airlines should not inadvertently become drug mules simply because they checked their baggage, and the handlers at the other end failed to pick up their parcel.

    The woman departed on an international flight. The security should have detected the package then when she checked her baggage. Once however the bag has passed through security the bag is not in her control. The only alternative is to give the travellers facilities at arrival areas to search their own baggage before being security screened. Or bags should be sealed at the security checkpoint. This has been the case with shipping containers for decades now, and that if the customs seals were broken the owner could not be held responsible for the contents.

    But as the system currently stands, I believe there is definely room for reasonable doubt. until such time as those issues are addressed, it’s unfortunate, but we really should err on the side of caution even if that means letting the guilty go free rather than risk jailing an innocent.

  2. Bill,

    The point you raise is reasonable doubt.

    I do see some doubt, but I don’t think it is enough.

    The big difference is the lack of a jury system. If tried by jury, I am sure she would have had much more chance of getting off.

    It is alot easier to appeal to the jury than to a judge. They will put themselves in the same position and use their emotions.

    It is also better when the spotlight is not upon you. The pressure on the judge would have been huge.

    To let her off would look like appeasing foreign interests. I just don’t think they could do that given the attention the case was receiving.

    Anyway, I am losing the point. The real point was that boycotting Bali/Indonesia is an act of stupidity, it will only hurt the poor locals who have nothing to do with thie case.

    I see it as a stupid, knee jerk reaction. I can understand it, and the emotion that causes it.

    We also have the ability to use reason, I wish more people would use it.

  3. Oh on that part I agree. it’s the part about it being a no brainer that she was guiltiy I disagree with.

    But like it or not, indirectly people will stay away, not becuase they are protesting, but because they are scared it could happen ot them. There’s that "doubt" if they travel there, somethign un-reasonable could happen to them 😉

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