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Schapelle Corby program won't include an interview, family says

Jakarta: The Seven Network's Sunday Night program on Schapelle Corby avoids an interview with the parolled drug smuggler but includes one with her sister Mercedes, the family has promised Indonesian authorities.

A Justice department spokesman in Jakarta said that, on that basis, the Bali office had approved the program, which depicts the Australian drug smuggler’s first days of freedom two weeks ago.

However, officials will still be watching carefully to assess whether the program breaches Corby's parole conditions.

The justice ministry has warned repeatedly that Corby should not be interviewed lest it cause “restlessness” in the community, and breach parole regulations.

But a spokesman for the Indonesian justice ministry said on Friday that Mercedes and her husband, Wayan Widyartha, had attended a meeting early on Friday at the Bali justice office and guaranteed there would be no interview with Schapelle featured in the broadcast.

“The only one who is interviewed in the program is Mercedes,” the spokesman said.


“Bali officials agreed to the movie as long as there is no Corby interview.”

Bali justice office head Gusti Kompyang Adnyana watched the Seven Network’s online promotion on Friday, which shows the network’s cameras filming every one of Corby’s first steps to freedom, including her first words from under the infamous hat and veil: “I feel like a crab”.

Mr Gusti said afterwards: “We will watch it… We will evaluate and we will report to Jakarta. We will also listen to her parole officer, then we will evaluate everything and report."

He was adamant that there could be no interview: “We already said no. The minister said no. The deputy justice minister said no. The parole officers said no interview.”

The Corby family pleaded unsuccessfully with authorities to be allowed to conduct the interview, saying it was for Schapelle’s mental wellbeing, and promising it would not be paid for.

She is still holed up in a luxury villa because she needed to escape the harassment of the media waiting outside, Mercedes said in a letter to the department last week.

But the Seven footage shows cameras following Schapelle, capturing every utterance, as well as showing her jumping up and down excitedly when she enters the Sentosa Seminyak villa after her release.

Asked by journalists if this footage undercut the family’s reasons for Corby remaining in luxury accommodation and not her own family home, Mr Gusti said: “We will evaluate everything and report to Jakarta”.