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Corby drug witness stabbed


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Corby supporters hold up placards in Denpasar Court.
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Australian Schapelle Corby could face life in prison or even death if convicted of drug smuggling charges in Indonesia
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Bali (Indonesia)
Australia
Alexander Downer
Tourism and Leisure

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- An Australian prisoner who gave evidence at accused drug smuggler Schapelle Corby's trial in Bali has been bashed and stabbed in jail.

The incident comes as Indonesian prosectors wrapped up their case Thursday against the 27-year old Australian beautician, arguing they had presented enough evidence to convict her of smuggling 4.1 kilograms of cannabis onto the tourist island from Australia.

John Patrick Ford, who is on remand in a Victorian jail, awaiting trial on rape and aggravated burglary charges, told the court in March that he heard a prisoner say the drugs were placed in Corby's bag by an Australian drug syndicate.

Ford's wife Rita has told Australian media that her husband had been attacked because of the evidence he gave at Corby's trial.

His wife said he was stabbed in the back by a prisoner last week and has since been placed in solitary confinement for his protection, according to a report on news Web site news.com.au.

"It's for his own safety. It's come with what he's done helping out with the (Corby) case over there," she was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Indonesian prosecutors told the court that the judges should dismiss Corby's tearful plea of innocence as emotional words with no legal weight.

Prosecutor Ni Wayan Sinaryati said that evidence from her family could not be trusted and evidence from Ford was not based on valid legal procedure.

Corby, who has spent seven months in a Balinese jail, is expected to find out her fate later this month when the three judges deliver their verdict. But in an ominous sign, her lawyer Lily Lubis signalled an appeal would be launched if she was convicted.

"This is only the first court," Lubis said according to a report on news.com. "It is the system, when you cannot get what you expect. "If it is not (a verdict for freedom), of course we will not give up."

While the prosectors have not asked for the death penalty, it is up to the judges to determine whether or not it should apply, if Corby is found guilty.

Late last month Corby pleaded with the judges to let her go, stating her only crime had been to fail to put locks on her baggage.

Australian Foreigner Minister Alexander Downer told CNN Thursday the case had not put "a dampener" on Australian-Indonesian relations, despite reports that Australian travel agents say they would boycott any promotion for Bali travel if she is found guilty.

Travel agents also said their clients were concerned about their baggage and felt the destination now had an added level of risk.

But Downer said there was still a good flow of tourists to Bali.

"I think the bigger issue though, is the one you mentioned, is the fear of terrorism," Downer said referring to the October 2002 bombing of two Bali nightclubs in which 88 Australians died.


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