Schapelle Corby: I'm not free

Last updated 11:04 03/03/2014
Fairfax Australia

Australia's Sunday Night television programme reveals Schapelle Corby's first moments of freedom.

Schapelle Corby pictured in a Sunday Night exclusive
Seven Network
ON THE BEACH:Schapelle Corby pictured in a Sunday Night exclusive at Seminyak beach for her first swim since her release from prison.
Corby splash
Seven Network
CATCHING UP: Corby with her niece Nyleigh.

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Knowing, as we did, Schapelle Corby's first words on her release from prison - ''I feel like a crab'' - what else was there to say? Not much, judging by Channel Seven's much-hyped exclusive with the paroled drug smuggler.

It was the interview you have when you're not having an interview. As revealing as a conversation with a circus mime. Seven's Sunday Night programme paid dearly, if not in dollars then sense, for exclusive footage of Corby, 36, saying very little indeed.

There she was being barrelled into the back of a car, feeling like a crustacean. She giggled on arriving at a luxury Bali villa. She swam, fully dressed, in the sea at sunset. But she barely spoke, on camera at least. Reporter Mike Willesee had to relay her words to viewers.

''I'm not free,'' she apparently told him, before asking, ''Do you think I will ever be normal and be able to walk down the street like other people?''

Willesee described Corby as friendly, funny but sad. We had to take his word for it. Indonesian authorities banned Corby from a TV interview, lest it cause ''restlessness'' in the community and breach parole regulations.

Seven denied it had paid anything to Corby or to any of her relatives or associates.

Sunday Night executive producer Mark Llewellyn said he was hopeful of running an interview with Corby one day.

''My oath, if she's allowed to,'' Llewellyn said.

Seven had to settle for the garrulous Mercedes Corby, revealing how she nursed her ''zombie''-like sister during her depressive years in prison.

''For months we had to hand-feed her. I had to stick her medicine on my finger down her throat,'' she recounted, while weeping.

Corby had been changed (kind of) by almost a decade in Kerobokan prison, her sister said.

''A lot of her happiness, her strength ... it's gone. No, I can't say her strength has gone because she has endured 10 years of that. She's happy she's out.''

Corby, she said, was innocent of smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in a boogie board bag into Bali. Cue conspiracy theories.

Sunday Night negotiated exclusive access to Corby's first days of freedom. She whooped with joy on being released on February 10.

Dressed like a beekeeper, in full face cover, she said to no one in particular: ''I feel like a ... I feel like a crab.''

Perhaps she was referring to scuttling out of prison amid the slavering media pack. Perhaps she was hankering for a seafood platter. Corby, of course, did not say. Cameras rolling, she complained instead: ''Everyone, they just use me.''

As non-favoured media chased her getaway car through the streets, she said: ''People judge me and say I am a really bad person but look at this. This is just nuts.''

Later, Schapelle went swimming at Seminyak beach, while wearing a blue halterneck maxi-dress. The waves showed no mercy.

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''She had forgotten how rough the surf can be,'' sister Mercedes said.

''She's still young enough to have a life. I am sure she will meet a nice man. She will become a mother. Yeah, I think it will all be all right.''

- Sydney Morning Herald

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