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Australia may repatriate Corby

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Australia may seek to repatriate alleged drug trafficker Schapelle Corby if she was convicted by an Indonesian court, Justice Minister Chris Ellison said.

Senator Ellison said Australia and Indonesia were already involved in transfer of prisoner agreements and this might apply to Corby who is accused of smuggling 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali's Denpasar airport last October.

And he said Australia would vigorously fight to save Corby's life if she is convicted and faced the death penalty.

Corby, a former Gold Coast beauty school student, has denied having anything to do with the drugs found in her unlocked boogie bag when she arrived in Bali.

A Victorian prisoner, John Ford, has told a Bali court that Melbourne man Ron Vigenser owned the marijuana found in Corby's boogie board bag.

Ford, the key defence witness in Corby's trial, told the Denpasar District Court last week that Corby was caught up in a drug smuggling operation at Australian airports.

Senator Ellison defended the handling of the case by Indonesian authorities, saying they had worked closely with Australian authorities on many aspects of the case.

He said that close working arrangements would also extend to a possible return of Corby to Australia if she was eventually convicted.

"If there is a finding of guilt, then of course we'll be looking at a transfer of prisoner agreement with Indonesia which we're doing anyway," he told the Ten Network.

Senator Ellison said Australia would make strong representations if Corby faced the death penalty.

"If a death penalty was imposed, then of course the government makes very strong representations in that regard," he said.

"We go into overdrive in making representations to avoid (the death penalty) being carried out."

Senator Ellison defended the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over accusations it had failed to properly investigate the claims made by Ford.

He said that investigation was ongoing.

"The AFP take those allegations ver seriously and that investigation is ongoing," he said.

"The AFP is continuing to work with the Queensland police in regard to this.

"Mr Ford made an allegation during the course of his evidence in Bali that there was involvement of a baggage handler in relation to the drug trafficking concern.

"The AFP take that seriously."



Source: AAP
Contact: http://corporate.tvnz.co.nz/tvnz_detail/0,2406,111442-239-251,00.html
Website: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/tvnz_index_skin/tvnz_index_group
 
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