A GUILTY verdict and a two-year jail sentence for the pilot at the controls of the plane that crashed and killed her brother and 20 others did nothing to soothe the pain or bring closure to Caroline Mellish.
Disoriented after a long flight from Australia, bemused and angry as she listened to the three-hour retelling of the evidence in the trial of Captain Marwoto Komar, Ms Mellish was quietly but deeply distressed after the sentence was finally revealed at Sleman district courthouse in Yogyakarta yesterday.
"I don't feel like justice has been served," said Ms Mellish, the sister of Morgan Mellish, The Australian Financial Review journalist who died in the crash, and the only Australian relative of a victim to make the journey to Yogyakarta for the verdict.
"That was the first time I ever saw [Komar]. It was quite emotional," she said. "Because I couldn't understand everything in court, it didn't seem quite real. And hearing he only got two years made it even harder."
Prosecutors were considering asking for life on the grounds the crash was deliberate, but then amended their request to four years for criminal negligence.
Making matters worse for the relatives of the victims, Komar's lawyers said they will appeal against the verdict.
Elsewhere in Indonesia , 24 military personnel were feared dead when their training aircraft crashed at an air base in West Java yesterday, an air force spokesman said.
The plane was landing during a training flight when it crashed in Bandung, 110 kilometres south-east of Jakarta.
The father of Allison Sudradjat, an AusAID officer who died in the Yogyakarta crash, was also disappointed with the sentence, which he said was inadequate.
Kevin Keevil said the four years sought by the prosecution would have better reflected the pilot's reckless behaviour. "It does not give me any peace of mind," Mr Keevil said. "I have a personal belief that the sentence is inadequate given what transpired on the day, especially in view of the pilot's behaviour."
But Mr Keevil said he respected the Indonesian justice system, just as his late daughter did.
Mr Keevil said he still mourned for her. "I have been to her grave and shed tears over her grave but it is all I can do."
He said he harboured no grievance against the Indonesian people or their government. "We very much like the Indonesians and their country," he said.
The prosecution of a pilot under criminal law following an accident is highly unusual, but pressure from the Australian Government, victims and their families, as well as a damning report from air transport investigators persuaded police to act.
Komar ignored 15 automated warnings - described as loud "whoop whoops" by the judges. Verbal warnings from the co-pilot to abort the landing were also ignored. He was travelling at twice the normal speed.
Five Australians were among the 21 who died. As well as Mr Mellish and Ms Sudradjat, diplomat Liz O'Neill, Australian Federal Police officers Mark Scott and Brice Steele lost their lives.
Herald journalist Cynthia Banham was badly burnt and broke her back but made a remarkable recovery.
The former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said yesterday the sentence was too light and the Government should consider asking the Indonesians to push for an appeal. Mr Downer's visit to Indonesia was being followed by government officials and journalists, several of whom were on the Garuda flight.
with Karuni Rompies and agencies