Schapelle Corby released from jail

Last updated 19:28 10/02/2014
Fairfax Australia

A close Australian friend of Mercedes Corby and Wayan Widyartha in Bali, Dane Kasih, says there will be big celebrations when Schapelle gets out of prison.

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Schapelle Corby waits in the corrections bureau after her release from jail.
Corby
Reuters
RELEASED: Schapelle Corby, at an earlier court appearane.

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Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, released on parole from Bali's Kerobokan jail this afternoon, has arrived with a Channel Seven crew at a luxury resort and spa, Sentosa Luxury Villas, in the fashionable Seminyak district.

A sizable media pack on scooters followed her.

Earlier, she was processed by the Indonesian authorities and embarked on her new life as a prisoner living on the outside.

She was first expected to live in the family compound belonging to her sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha, situated off a tiny lane near Kuta Beach.

However, there is speculation that she may not be returning to the compound.

Media vehicles were tailing the van in which Corby is riding, which also seemed to have a TV crew from Channel Seven's Sunday Night programme on board.

It is understood Mercedes' family has bought at least one other property in recent times.

Family members have been quoted today saying Schapelle was not welcome in the Kuta family compound as she was an outsider who did not belong within their Balinese Hindu tradition.

As well, revelations from close family friend Dane Kasih to Fairfax Media on Saturday that the couple separated months ago raise questions as to where Corby's first party will be and where she will ultimately live.

Ketut Artha, the head of Bali's corrections board, said the split would make no difference to Corby's ability to stay on parole as long as Wayan stayed as guarantor.

At this stage Wayan is sticking by the family. 

He sat next to Schapelle during her masked interview and document signing at the Bali corrections office, and helped guide her through the throng of media.

Though Wayan, a Balinese man, is her official guarantor, there is little doubt that Mercedes will primarily care for her sister.

The Bali Corrections Board insists it does not care, as long as she can attend her monthly inspections dressed "respectfully".

FREED

Australia's celebrity prisoner stepped free about 8.15am local time (1.15pm NZT), nine years after she was arrested for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in a boogie board bag into Bali and amid unprecedented media hype.


Her supporters had mounted a sustained campaign proclaiming her innocence as she was reported to have suffered a mental breakdown.

Police yelled "Sip!" (Ready) and then Corby, 36, was hustled out wearing a white and blue hat and a full tartan face cover. Her head was bowed and she said nothing.

Dozens of members of Australia's media waited for the moment.

But police outnumbered journalists 2-1 in the tiny prison car park, which was jam-packed.

More than 100 police officers in plain clothes and uniform were at the jail to ensure Corby's safety.

Kerobokan prison's governor, Farid Junaedi, told reporters that Corby was still a prisoner and would now begin her parole.

He told reporters Corby's condition on Monday morning was "just fine, only a little bit nervous and asking why there's so many people and reporters".

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"She took her make-up and clothes," he said.

Junaedi said Corby was searched before she was released.

"After she was clear, then she could get out," he said.

"According to the last data, Corby will stay in her sister's house."

Junaedi said Mercedes did not join her husband at the jail because of the crush when she visited on Friday.

He said if Corby violated her parole, he would "pull her back".

PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE

Indonesia's bureaucratic processes make no exceptions for anyone, including the "Ganja Queen", and her first stop was at the Denpasar office of the prosecutors who, in 2005, asked the judges to imprison her for life.

A police contingent followed her from the jail to the prosecutor's office on motor scooters. One of the officers denied being paid by the Corby family to provide an escort.

Corby was taken in the prison van with one family member, four prison officials and one other prisoner, who was also freed today.

Corby's brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha was also in the van, as he was needed for the parole paperwork.

Corby arrived at the prosecutor's office in the prison van, wearing a white hat and covering her face in a black veil.

She ducked her head and was walked into the office by police.

Corby said nothing. While she was inside, a massive media contingent - which grew to about 60 over 20 minutes - waited outside.

Australian media crews used cameras on long poles to peer into the frosted glass windows above the office Corby was taken into.

She spent about 30 minutes being interviewed by prosecutors, joined by Wayan.

Corby left the prosecutor's office shortly after 9am local time, where she registered her exit from jail - her release date, case number, who is the Bali Corrections Board (Bapas) officer in charge of her case, her address and who her guarantor is.

Agung Bagus Kusimantara, head of the Intelligence Section in the Prosecutions Office, said Corby cried at one point in her interview.

"We asked her about her condition and she once cried, saying she's still in trauma over the journalists," he said.

Prosecutors got Corby to sign a release letter, stamped three of her fingers and took a photo, he said.

"Later on, each month she has to report herself here. In this process, she must come herself and can't be represented," he said.

BALI CORRECTIONS BOARD

At Bapas, she repeated the process, was fingerprinted and given a schedule of appointments for reporting and counselling.

When she was talking to Ketut Artha, the head of the Bali Corrections Board, he asked if she understood what the parole card meant. She said "Yes, I understand."

Ketut told her that if she had any problems, Corby should call him and call her parole officer.

She said "yes", and was nodding.

Ketut said Corby’s mind did not seem to be on what she was doing, so: "Whatever I said to her she would not get it.

"I’ll wait for her next visit, next month to talk to her," he said.

Asked about her mood, Ketut said she didn’t seem happy, nor excited; she was not crying, she just had a "plain, neutral response".

Her parole officer Putu Andiani and Ketut both lifted her scarf to make sure it really was Corby.

Both confirmed it was her.

Corby told Putu "Saya senang" -  Indonesian for "I am happy".

Ketut said: "She is now a free woman, with conditions."

From the corrections office, Corby was free to go "home".

FAMILY AND FRIENDS CELEBRATE

In Queensland, her mother Roseleigh Rose and family and friends celebrated with champagne and dancing.

Rose is expected to go to Bali to see her daughter "when she is needed", Channel Seven reported.

An elated Rose told Seven that she was screaming and crying as she watched Corby leave the prison on television. "It was just beautiful to see my beautiful Schapelle come out from those doors."

FRIENDS SWAYED WITH BUBBLY

It took a rumoured $3 million deal to snare an interview with Schapelle Corby but shortly after her release it took just a $15 bottle of bubbly to secure a chat with the friends who accompanied her on that Bali trip, Ally Jeffers and Katrina Richards.

Outside the Loganlea home of Schapelle's mother Roseleigh Rose, a media contingent to rival that in Bali camped out for much of the morning.

Cheers, yells and the sound of popping corks could be heard coming from the backyard.

Yet only Channel 7 - the rumoured payee for Schapelle's $3 million story - had been granted access to the family.

Rose has taped off the entry to her front door and boarded up her windows following the news her daughter has been released on parole from Bali's Kerobokan prison after more than nine years inside.

It left the rest of the media waiting.

It was only when a reporter offered the bottle of Wolf Blass across the fence, Schapelle's friends Jeffers and Richards finally emerged with her brother James Kisina for a brief, three minute interview.

The pair had travelled to Bali with Schapelle in 2004 trip to celebrate Mercedes Corby's 30th birthday.

The women drank from the bottle in front of waiting media.

"It's beautiful, tastes like freedom," Richards said.

They had spoken briefly to Schapelle since her release, they said, and she was in good spirits.

"It's a new beginning," Jeffers said.

"Forget about the past, this is a new slate. Move forward, new beginning."

Rose had opted not to be in Bali for her daughter's release from Kerobokan prison because she still didn't know if it would happen, Jeffers said.

"I think she just wanted to wait to see what happened because she's been let down a few times," she said.

Schapelle's brother, Kisina, said little, just that it was "happy days" for his family.

Kisina said he did not know what he would say to his sister when he eventually saw her, but would be giving her a hug.

RECLUSE

Since the media frenzy surrounding her arrest, trial and jailing in 2004 and 2005, Corby has largely become a recluse, trying to hide from cameras, declining interviews and avoiding Kerobokan prison's exposed visiting area in case someone sneaks a photograph to sell to the media.

Even within the prison Corby kept mostly to herself. Other prisoners say she worked on paintings and beading in her cell.

Corby's release, like her arrest, trial and incarceration in 2004, was accompanied by massive drama.

Dozens of media outlets, including all of Indonesia's main TV networks, sent crews.

Australia's Seven, Nine and Ten networks have multiple cameras so they do not miss one nuance of her responses.

THE SCHAPELLE CORBY SAGA:

October 8, 2004 - Arrested at Bali airport with 4.1kg of cannabis in bodyboard bag

May 27, 2005 - Found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to 20 years' jail

July 5, 2005 - Case reopened after appeals by both defence (for a new trial) and prosecution (asking for life imprisonment)

October 15, 2005 - Bali's High Court reduces sentence to 15 years. Both sides appeal to Indonesia's Supreme Court

January 19, 2006 - Supreme Court reinstates original 20-year sentence

August 25, 2006 - Corby appeals against sentence to Supreme Court on the basis of CCTV footage, which never materialises

March 28, 2008 - Supreme Court rejects final appeal, leaving presidential clemency her last resort

August 17, 2011 - Prison governor confirms she has been granted a total of 22 months remission over the preceding five years

May 22, 2012 - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono orders five-year reduction in sentence

Aug 17, 2013 - Corby recommended for early release but process bogged down by bureaucratic wrangling

Dec 25, 2013 - Sentence cut by two months as part of an annual Christmas remission program

Jan 20, 2014 - Frenchman Michael Blanc, jailed for smuggling hash into Bali in 1999, released on parole to live in Jakarta

Jan 21, 2014 - Indonesia's Corrections Department says Corby's parole case to be heard by end of the month

HOW THE CORBYS KEPT AUSTRALIA CAPTIVATED:

March 2007 - Queensland Court of Appeal freezes proceeds earned by Schapelle Corby and family from interviews and her top-selling book, My Story, by former Nine Network producer Kathryn Bonella.

June 2008 - Mercedes Corby wins multi-million dollar defamation payout from the Seven Network, which aired defamatory claims by her former best friend Jodie Power.

December 2008 - Mercedes appears on the cover of lads mag Ralph in a bikini, saying: "It's good to have some nice photos at my age with three kids."

April 2009 - The commonwealth seizes A$128,000 of profits from My Story, having sought A$270,000.

April 2013 - Corbys awarded more than A$50,000 in damages for family photos published in the book Sins of the Father without consent. They had sought A$300,000.

May 2013 - Defamation claim brought by Schapelle's brother Michael against the same book, by journalist Eamonn Duff, is dismissed. A number of claims remain, including Mercedes' imputation that the book defames her by alleging she exploited her sister's incarceration by profiting from media deals.

- Fairfax Media and agencies

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