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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

Schapelle Corby has spent her first night of freedom about three kilometres from the jail she spent nine years in - but it would have felt a world away.

The convicted drug smuggler spent her first night on parole at the five-star Sentosa Seminyak spa villas at Petitenget, not far from Kerobokan prison.

The emotional day before was marked by confusion, anticipation and finally relief for Australia's most famous overseas prisoner.

Schapelle Corby in the Corrections Bureau.

Free: Schapelle Corby. Photo: Justin McManus

On Monday, Corby had told an Indonesian official "I am happy" as she was led through the three-step process of release on parole amid a storming media pack in Bali.

Corby walked out of jail about 8.15am local time. Officials said she looked nervous and had cried at the intensity of the media attention.

Kerobokan prison's governor, Farid Junaedi, told reporters that Corby had been "rather shaken'' and had said ''Wow, that's a lot of people and reporters, isn't it?''

Corby's stop after prison: The exclusive spa resort, Sentosa Seminyak.

Corby's stop after prison: The exclusive spa resort, Sentosa Seminyak. Photo: Justin McManus

Agung Bagus Kusimantara, head of the Intelligence Section in the Prosecutions Office, said: "We asked her about her condition and she once cried, saying she's still in trauma over the journalists.''

Corby said nothing to reporters, and wore a hat and full face veil, which she talked through whenever she was required to respond to officials.

Mr Farid at the jail, and staff at the corrections office later, all confirmed they had lifted Corby's veil just to make sure the right prisoner was being granted parole. All confirmed it was her.

Schapelle Corby

No peace for the famous: Amid a crush of security and media, Schapelle Corby, with her head covered is guided into a waiting van. Photo: Justin McManus

She was hustled off in a convoy of cars with Seven Network journalist Mike Willesee. At the spa resort, Willesee was expected to conduct an interview rumoured to have cost the network up to $3 million.

It is still unclear where Corby's home in Bali might be, as she serves out the more than three years on her parole until her final release on July 25, 2017.

Her sister has separated from her husband, Balinese man Wayan Widyartha, dampening expectations that she would live in his family's compound located off a lane near Kuta Beach.

It is understood Mercedes' family has bought at least one property in recent times in the vicinity of the family house.

Though Mr Wayan is Corby's official guarantor, the Bali Corrections Board and the Justice Office have both confirmed they were not worried that the couple had separated, only that Mr Wayan agreed to carry on as guarantor. He was by Corby's side on Monday.

The Australian government has also officially promised the Indonesian government that Corby would be of good behaviour.

Conditions on her release on parole are that she must report monthly for counselling and guidance, act respectfully towards officials, have the Kuta compound as her home base (although she is not required to live there) and commit no crimes.

Australia's celebrity prisoner, jailed for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in a boogie board bag into Bali, stepped from the prison after police guarding the exit yelled ''sip'' (ready). Corby, 36, was hustled out wearing a white and blue hat and a full face cover. Her head was bowed and she said nothing.

Mr Farid later said Corby had been searched before her release, and that she "took only make-up and clothes".

After leaving prison in the transport bus, her first stop was at the Denpasar office of the prosecutors - who in 2005 asked the judges to imprison her for life - to fill in paperwork and be fingerprinted. She was then taken to the Bali corrections board, Bapas, where the process was repeated.

Bapas head Ketut Artha asked whether she understood what the parole card meant, to which she replied yes. He said Corby's mind did not seem to have been on what she was doing, so he would ''wait for her next visit, next month, to talk to her".

Corby told her parole officer, Putu Adiani: ''Saya senang'', Indonesian for ''I am happy.''

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

An elated Ms Rose told the Seven Network: ''It was just beautiful to see my beautiful Schapelle come out from those doors.''

There are early indications that the release may provoke a political backlash against Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is accused by some Indonesians of giving the Australian an easy run after conspiring with the Australian government.

with agencies