There was public outrage in Australia at the 27-year-old beauty therapist’s conviction and 20-year jail sentence for smuggling 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into the resort island of Bali last October on a flight from Brisbane.
Australian television networks broadcast the court’s judgement live, focusing on the weeping face of Corby who, opinion polls show, is believed to be innocent by more than 90 per cent of Australians.
Police heightened security around Indonesian diplomatic mission in Australia ahead of the verdict.
After the judgment was announced, Greens senator Bob Brown organised a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in Canberra and talkback radio lines were clogged with callers saying they would boycott Indonesian products and no longer holiday in Bali.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said public concern about the conviction should not spill over into attacks on Indonesians because a backlash would be counter-productive.
“Indonesian staff should not be threatened, Indonesian government officials should not be abused or threatened,” he told reporters. “To do that type of thing is entirely counter-productive.
“There is a long way to go in this case and overreactions of one kind or another is not going to help at all.”
Prime Minister John Howard acknowledged the huge interest in Australia about the fate of Corby and urged his compatriots to accept the conviction.
“As the father of young adult children, I know that many other mothers and fathers around Australia will feel the vulnerability that is felt by the family of this girl,” he said.
“The fact that we are a nation whose young travel so much makes it an issue that has touched this country very directly. But it remains the case that after hearing the evidence the court has found her guilty.”
Analysts said the strong public reaction to the case would put strains on the relationship between Canberra and Jakarta, which has recently been boosted by Australia’s one billion dollars in aid and a visit by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Malcolm Cook, an Asia analyst at Sydney think-tank the Lowy Institute for International Policy said most Australians remained sceptical about Indonesia, and the Corby case could erode the goodwill generated in the wake of the December 26 tsunami disaster.
“There’s a bedrock of opinion in Australia that has a very ambivalent attitude towards Indonesia and this will reinforce those stereotypes,” he told AFP.
Mr Downer said the Australian government would offer Corby’s defence team the use of two senior lawyers who specialise in Asian law to assist in her appeal.
It will consider requests for cash to pay for the appeal.
Also, Australian officials would meet their Indonesian counterparts on June 6 to negotiate a prisoner transfer agreement that would allow Corby to serve her sentence in her homeland.
Mr Downer said he had sympathy for Corby but he was relieved she had not been sentenced to death.