Thursday Feb 16
The last three members of the Bali Nine have been jailed for life as judges rejected pleas for mercy and one of their top defence lawyers admitted that clemency hopes for the convicted heroin smugglers were slim.
A day after the two ringleaders of the failed heroin trafficking operation were handed death sentences, Denpasar District Court judges said would-be mules Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen should receive the same life terms meted out to four mules who were arrested with the 8kg stash.
Senior gang lieutenant Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, tried alongside Norman and Chen, was also handed a life sentence.
Norman's mother Robyn Davies said the ruling was just a step off the worst possible result.
"It's better that being shot I suppose," she said grimly, appealing to the Indonesian government to treat her 19-year-old son well in the long years ahead without family.
"Look after him, feed him and give good health up to him," she said.
The trio showed little reaction as the widely-tipped sentence was handed down by chief judge Istiningsih Rahayu.
Following the course of previous rulings, she said the actions of the three had damaged Bali's image and they had shown little remorse during their trials, stonewalling questions and refusing testimony.
"But they are young, polite and have no previous convictions," Rahayu said.
She threw out defence objections against damning evidence from plain-clothed undercover police who secretly questioned Nguyen in his jail cell ahead of trial.
"It was legal and did not violate human rights," the judge said.
Norman, the youngest member of the nine, arrived at court dressed in a dark singlet and with a clean-shaven head.
His tension was plain as he shoulder-charged a photographer and vaulted up stairs to a court holding cell in a bid to dodge waiting media.
The three were hauled to court through a side entrance and sat with their heads bowed as they waited for judges to arrive.
After the verdicts, lawyer Rifan Mohamad - who also represented condemned ringleaders Chan and Sukumaran - said the trial had been unfair.
He said the court had wrongly placed Norman, Chen and Nguyen in the same category as four couriers caught with heroin strapped to their bodies at Bali airport.
Unlike them, the three were arrested together at Kuta Beach's Melasti Hotel with a small amount of heroin powder, weighing scales and packing material.
"It's not justice," Rifan said.
"The judge generalised on all three while all had different roles.
"I'm very disappointed because the judge didn't consider this."
Rifan said all five of his clients, including Chan and Sukumaran, would appeal within the next week and said he was confident the Bali High Court would reduce the sentences provided there was no political interference or pressure.
But Wirawan Adnan - one of Indonesia's most experienced defence lawyers and the counsel for convicted mule Martin Stephens - believes all nine Australians face an uphill battle on appeals or separate requests for clemency from the Indonesian president.
He said it was now up to Canberra to get involved and for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Prime Minister John Howard to exploit warming relations with Jakarta.
"If there is any hope, it's because of Australian-Indonesian ties," he told AAP.
"Other than that, I see the chances of a successful appeal as very slim."
However, Mr Howard downplayed expectations that his friendship with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - a tough anti-drugs campaigner - could help the Bali Nine.
Anggia Browne, the lawyer for lone female among the group Renae Lawrence, said she did not want political help.
"That would be interference and would make things complicated," she warned.
Norman's mother Davies, who is considering moving to Bali, said her son was as well as could be expected and refused to wade into what could yet turn into a diplomatic row between Indonesia and Australia as Canberra voices opposition to the death penalty.
She would visit him in prison and tell him to "keep your chin up and the family is with you 100 per cent", she said.
Bali 9 Case Information