Pubdate: Thu, 06 Feb 2014
Source: Advertiser, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2014 Advertiser Newspapers Ltd


SCHAPELLE Corby's family have denied the lawyer who appeared on TV 
claiming the convicted drug smuggler would celebrate her freedom with 
a "big marijuana joint" had ever worked for them.

Kerry Smith-Douglas appeared on Channel Nine's Today in a bizarre 
interview where she was introduced as Corby's former lawyer to talk 
about the impending parole.


"Yes, it's very exciting, there's going to be a lot of parties going 
on once she is released, and I can't wait," she joked.

"She'll probably pop a cork of champagne and then roll up a big 
marijuana joint the size of a cigar and kick back and enjoy herself."

Her clumsy joke left viewers, and the Nine Network's golden boy Karl 
Stefanovic, gobsmacked.

But a statement issued by the Corby family today denied Ms 
Smith-Douglas had ever worked for them.


"Ms Smith-Douglas has never been retained by any member of the Corby 
family. They met with her on two occasions but they declined to 
engage her as their lawyer," the statement said.

"The comments that Ms Smith-Douglas made on the Today programme are 
in bad taste and ill informed."

"Channel 9 and the Nine Network should take more care to check their 
sources before broadcasting such insensitive and hurtful material."

Ms Smith-Douglas does not say during the interview that she was the 
Corby's former lawyer.

Corby is expected to be released shortly after serving nine years for 
importing 4.1kg of cannabis into Bali.

The Corby family's angry statement is in stark contrast what was said 
when Ms Smith-Douglas entered the scene in 2010.

Corby's mother, Rosleigh Rose, said at the time she believed Ms 
Smith-Douglas could succeed where a litany of other lawyers had failed.

"She's a strong and dedicated woman and we're going to work with her 
to bring Schapelle home," Ms Rose said.

Channel Nine declined to comment.

In other developments today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned Corby 
that she should not profit by telling her story after she leaves prison.

"I guess the old principle is that crime should not pay," the PM told 
4BC Radio today.

During the bizarre interview with Karl Stefanovic, Smith-Douglas said 
Corby would "probably pop a cork of champagne and then roll up a big 
marijuana joint the size of a cigar and kick back and enjoy herself."

All the while the big-haired lawyer was making hand gestures, 
apparently alluding to rolling up said "big joint."

Corby is serving a 20-year sentence after she was convicted for the 
importation of 4.2kg of cannabis into Bali in 2005.

Karl was quick to seize on Smith-Douglas' comments, asking "You 
haven't been smoking this morning have you?"

Smith-Douglas replied with laughter and another joke: "My eyes are 
red, I know".

Karl then asked Smith-Douglas about an apparent fallout with the 
Corbys - to which she replied she had a disagreement with the Corby 
"campaign committee" - not the family.

"I did have a disagreement with their campaign committee. They didn't 
want the media knowing what was going on with Schapelle."

In closing the interview, Karl returned to the earlier conversation 
about marijuana and again it strayed into dangerous territory.


Karl: "We hope that what you said at the start will not affect her 
chances of getting out?"

Smith-Douglas: "I was concerned that what John ... not John Howard 
.. whose ... Tony Abbott was recently caught listening in to the 
President's telephone conversation, and I thought that may have 
affected her capability of getting out quickly on parole."

Karl: "That may have not been Tony Abbott."

Karl wished the eccentric lawyer all the best with her Corby party, 
noting she already had her hair all done up for the occasion.

"Thank you very much, God Bless Australia," she replied.

Asked later on Fairfax Radio if she was serious, Ms Smith-Douglas 
replied: "No. It was a joke, don't you have a sense of humour?", and 
added, "Get a life. Loosen up. Enjoy a joke."

Ms Smith-Douglas rejected suggestions Indonesian authorities might 
take the comments seriously, saying they were ridiculous.

Indonesia's Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin said on Wednesday he 
would make his decision about Corby's parole application on Friday.
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