Corby's star witness convicted of rape

Sunday, January 29, 2006

John Patrick Ford, the Australian prisoner who testified at Schapelle Corby’s Bali drug trafficking trial, has been convicted of 11 charges relating to the rape and assault of a woman.

Ford’s trial was postponed to allow him to travel to Bali in the custody of Australian Federal Police officers to testify that he had overheard a jailhouse confession. Ford alleged he had heard another prisoner claim ownership of the marijuana found in Corby’s possession. He told the Balinese court that Corby was the victim of an Australian domestic inter-airport drug-smuggling operation. She is currently serving a 20-year prison term after being convicted in that case.

In December 2005, a County Court jury convicted Ford of 11 charges, including rape, intentionally causing injury, threatening to inflict serious injury, false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, burglary, making threats to kill and stalking, but a suppression order issued by the court prevented publication of the convictions until the pre-sentencing hearing on Friday, January 27, 2006.

Ford’s lawyer, Tom Danos, told the hearing that Corby had written to Ford thanking him for risking his own welfare by agreeing to testify. Danos urged the court to be lenient in sentencing Ford, claiming that his victim had effectively forgiven him for his crimes and that he deserved a lighter sentence for co-operating with authorities investigating the Corby case.

Ford has been attacked twice in jail since testifying at Corby’s Bali trial. Since returning from Bali in March, 2005, Ford has remained in protective custody, to prevent further attacks. Danos claimed that this would make any jail sentence particularly difficult for his client.

County Court Judge Margaret Rizkalla adjourned the pre-sentencing hearing to a date yet to be set.


  Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Schapelle Corby