How lies, arrogance gave Bali 9 the death penalty
BALI NINE kingpins Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran's lies, arrogance and shameless cockiness with Indonesians earned them the death penalty they could have avoided, a new book claims.
After their arrests for masterminding the 8.3kg heroin plot, the two Australians were "full of swagger and bravado and smart-alec quips".
They were "full of everything except contrition", according to a new account of the pair's lives on death row and execution by firing squad by Indonesia specialist and News Corp journalist Cindy Wockner.
According Wockner's book, Chan "smirked" and was "insolent" in the face of an Indonesian judge he treated as "stupid".
This approach was disastrous "in a legal system that places a great deal of emphasis on co-operation, on courtesy and politeness in court and on admissions of guilt and expressions of remorse".
It gained them the death penalty when it might have been avoided, Wockner writes in her book, The Pastor and the Painter.
She describes the men's impudence and shameless approach, and the fights they had with Renae Lawrence and other Bali Nine members.
Wockner tells how various members of the Bali Nine including Lawrence changed their stories to police and court officials, with predictably catastrophic results.
Wockner would later grow fond of Chan and Sukumaran and weep when they met the firing squad, and her book is the story of their lives from "Aussie schoolboys to convicted drug traffickers to redemption on Indonesia's death row".
However, she admits she did not like them in their early days at Bali's Kerobokan prison.
Her book also gives an insider's account of the days leading up to the men's execution on Nuskambangan Island on April 29, 2015.
The Bali Nine were arrested ten years earlier on Myuran Sukumaran's 24th birthday, he in a hotel at Bali's Kuta Beach and Chan at Ngurah rai airport.
Chan was carrying no drugs, but police arrested four mules with most the heroin strapped to their bodies, Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens, Michael Czugaj and Scott Rush.
Wockner writes that upon his arrest Chan said, "Whatever happened to Schapelle Corby happened to me" and that he and Sukumaran denied all knowledge of the drugs.
Renae Lawrence was talking on the advice of her lawyer to earn a discount on her sentence, and revealed she had done a successful heroin run with Chan seven months earlier.
The Bali Nine were kept in police holding cells for three months, Chan and Sukumaran kept deliberately at different police stations 15km apart.
They then were moved to Kerobokan jail, at the time home to Schapelle Corby who visitors paid prison guards 5000 Rupiah (50 cents) each to see.
Chan and Sukumaran hired the same lawyers and would be tried separately; the four mules each had different lawyers for their separate trials.
At Sukumaran's trial, which began in January 2006, he claimed he had come to Bali solely as a tourist, and had nothing to do with Chan, or with the heroin or strapping the mules.
Wockner writes Sukumaran told the judges so many times he didn't know the answer to their question, that "it became ridiculous".
"He told the judges he couldn't remember what kind of mobile phone he had.
"They had enough. 'Have you ever had the disease of amnesia?'," a judge asked.
When Sukumaran required an explanation as to what amnesia was, and said he couldn't remember when he'd had it, "the judges were not impressed".
A week later, Chan's trial began and Sukumaran was called as a witness, but refused to testify because he was a suspect in the same case.
Given a warning by the judge, he stonewalled. Chan did the same, despite "increasingly angry" retorts by the judges.
Cracks appeared in whatever solidarity there might have been between the nine accused Australians and Lawrence in particular refused to have anything to do with the others.
Chan also told them Lawrence's claim that he had threatened to kill her or her family if she refused to carry the heroin was untrue.
A clearly angry Lawrence told the court that this denial was "lies".
Wockner writes that Chan was "insolent" in the face of persistent questioning by the judges to which he responded either "no", "I don't know" or "I don't remember".
The questions included: "Do you know about a narcotics case called the Bali Nine?"
When Sukumaran came to testify he, too, refused to answer questions and when his statement to police about his noninvolvement with any aspect of the drugs was read out, Lawrence said it was also lies.
But Lawrence did herself no favours.
Despite admitting her role in the Bali Nine plot, but saying it was under the instruction and threats of Chan, she abandoned her police statement about the successful 2004 heroin run.
Martin Stephens gave evidence at Chan's trial and said he and his family had also been threatened with harm.
Chan's version of events was that he was in Bali to shop, go clubbing and supervise and that despite police surveillance photos of him with Sukumaran, they weren't together.
He also claimed he didn't know Stephens or Lawrence, with whom he had worked in Australia, before Bali.
He said, "I never strapped any heroin on their bodies ever in my life" and claimed all the witnesses were "liars".
The judges were by now irate: "How do you know they are liars, you don't know them?"
The judges then said: "Please don't tell the wrong story or lies because the judges, the lawyers, the prosecutor, all the people here are not stupid."
One judge instructed the interpreter specifically to tell Chan, "Indonesian judges are not stupid people".
Andrew responded regarding the heroin: "I don't even know who owns it. I've never seen it until Polda (police headquarters), they started throwing it at me and saying it's yours and I've never seen it."
As Wockner writes, both Chan and Sukumaran's refusal to testify was, they later said, on the advice of their lawyers.
But, "the approach did not serve them well".
When it came to closing submissions, the prosecution "saw no reason for leniency for either Myuran or Andrew," she wrote.
"Sentence them both to death, they told the judges. Chan smirked.
"The translator asked him if he knew what the words hukuman mati meant.
Chan replied: "Yes, death penalty no problem"
On the day of the verdict, February 14, 2006, both men's lawyers advised them not to leave Kerobokan jail and not to come to court.
They were told to "feign illness ... you are going to get the death penalty".
But it was too late, Chan and Sukumaran could not avoid getting on the bus.
At Denpasar District Court, the judges read out their decision in Indonesian before declaring Chan guilty and sentencing him to death.
Next was Sukumaran's verdict, again the death penalty.
The judges said that the heroin in the Bali Nine plot could have fed drugs to 8200 victims.
On the same day in a different court, judges gave Martin Lawrence and Michael Czugaj life sentences.
When the verdict was read out for Renae Lawrence, she was stunned to receive a life sentence, having bargained on only getting 20 years.
On January 17, 2015, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo rejected a clemency request from Andrew Chan and had denied one from Myuran Sukumaran the previous month.
On March 4, 2015, the men were flown under a heavy police presence to the Javanese port of Cilicap and taken to Nusakambangan, known as "Death Island" where nine weeks later they were executed.
The Pastor and the Painter by Cindy Wockner, Hachette Australia, $22.95.