Proceeds of Crime

Shapelle Corby is a 29-year-old Australian woman serving a 20-year jail term in Indonesia for attempting to smuggle 4.1kg of cannabis into the country in a bodyboard bag in October 2004.

A book, Shapelle Corby My Story, written with Kathryn Bonella, was published last year and became a best-seller in this country. According to a report in "The Australian" the book has now sold nearly 100,000 copies and earned in excess of a quarter of a million dollars for the copyright holders.

The question is: who gets the money? The Queensland Court of Appeal has decided that the earnings constitute proceeds from crime and have ordered some $282,750 to be seized by police. In addition, a further $15,000, promised to Corby's sister for an interview in "New Idea" magazine has also been frozen.

This raises some interesting issues, not least the suggestion that the royalty money was to be used for defense costs and legal challenges. Leaving that aside, what about the interview with the sister? Yes, the interview would only be conducted because the subject's sister was in jail, but as the sister didn't actually commit the crime, can't she tell the family's story about how they are reacting to the publicity, the pressures they are under, and how they attempting to cope with it all? And how far does this connection extend? Immediate family? The professional writer who collaborated with Corby? The lawyers in the case? The journos who reported on it?

If you are going draw a line in the sand like this you'd better make it pretty definite who is on each side.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 29, 2007 4:37 PM.

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