Chasing Schapelle: the journey after her release
After Schapelle Corby left prison on Monday morning, we travelled with her for two hours until she was taken into a private spa retreat. Tessa van der Riet reports from Bali.PT2M6S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32ctg 620 349 February 10, 2014
Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, released on parole from Bali's Kerobokan jail this morning, has arrived with a Channel Seven crew at luxury resort and spa Sentosa, in the fashionable Seminyak district.
A large media pack on scooters followed her.
Schapelle Corby leaves the Corrections Bureau. Photo: Justin McManus
Earlier, she was processed by the Indonesian authorities and embarked on her new life 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.
Luxury: Corby has gone to Sentosa Seminyak with a Channel Seven crew. Photo: Supplied
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 program 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.
People follow Corby's car through the streets. Photo: Tessa van der Riet
As well, revelations from close family friend Dane Kasih to Fairfax Media on Saturday that the couple have separated raise questions as to where Corby's first party will be, and where she will ultimately live.
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".
Corby in the Corrections Bureau. Photo: Justin McManus
Australia's celebrity prisoner stepped free about 8.15am local time (11.15 AEDT) 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.
Corby, wearing a checked hat, leaves Kerobokan prison.
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.
The media outside Kerobokan prison waiting for a glimpse of Corby. Photo: Michael Bachelard
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".
The police contingent in place to guard Corby on her release from jail. Photo: Michael Bachelard
"She took her make-up and clothes," he said.
Mr Farid said Corby was searched before she was released.
"After she was clear, then she could get out," he said.
The media scrum at the Bali prosecutor's office waiting for a glimpse of Corby. Photo: Michael Bachelard
"According to the last data, Corby will stay in her sister's house."
Mr Farid 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".
Schapelle Corby: Freedom
Schapelle Corby covered in a veil and hat leaving the Prosecuters office. Photo: Justin McManus
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."
Mr Ketut told her that if she had any problems, Corby should call him and call her parole officer.
She said "Yes", and was nodding.
Mr 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, Mr 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 Mr Ketut both lifted her scarf to make sure it really was Corby.
Both confirmed it was her.
The corrections officer said Corby was free to go "home".
Corby told Ms Putu: "Saya senang", Indonesian for "I am happy."
Mr Ketut said: "She is now a free woman, with conditions."
Family and friends celebrate
In Queensland, her mother Rosleigh Rose and family and friends celebrated with champagne and dancing.
Ms Rose is expected to go to Bali to see her daughter "when she is needed", Channel Seven reported.
An elated Ms 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."
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.
- with James Robertson, AAP