or so they would have us believe. I mean, let's face it and after all, Schapelle Corby is innocent and the Bali Nine never had any drugs taped to their bodies did they? Give me a break! The latest one is a mother of four young girls who is accused of stealing a beer mat in Thailand. She could be facing up to five years in a Thai prison. For a beer mat? Sounds horrendous doesn't it? But there are some things about this that make me pause.
The beer mat is no ordinary beer mat. It is worth a cool $Aus 60. That's a lot of money for the impecunious likes of me so what is it worth in Thailand?
It was supposedly a 'joke'. What sort of joke entails breaking the law?
Then we learn that she apparently first of all tried to evade the police and then screamed abuse at them when she was arrested. But, of course she is innocent!
Now she was in Thailand on a girls-only trip to celebrate her mother's 60th birthday. I find that odd too. Going away on holiday in the middle of the school term and leaving four young girls seems a bit odd to me. Maybe their father is perfectly competent - but now he is in Thailand trying to get his wife home again. Who is looking after the children?
Which brings me to the other point. What contingency plans did the family have in place if something went wrong? This woman could have become ill up there. Bad enough in a country with the sort of medical facilities she is used to but - well, is going there irresponsible given her other responsibilities?
My mad cousin is still insisting that they are taking their six kids to the slums of Manila for three months. She says the reason that their church is discriminating against them because of the financial cost of taking six children. I say that even their fundamentalist church draws the line at anyone taking six children to one of the most dangerous cities in the world. We have had a few frantic e-mails backwards and forwards as I try to explain that guardianship provisions in wills do not apply if said parents are alive but unable to care for the children. At least she has listened to that. Their solicitor is going to be busy - and I am glad I do not have to draft the documents. They are now getting Enduring Power of Attorney papers drawn up too. I suppose I should be thankful they are listening to that much but I cannot guard against diseases (many and varied and sometimes for life or even fatal), theft, kidnap and other offences against the person.
They are, in my view, even more irresponsible than our 'innocent' traveller to Thailand.