Denpasar, Bali: SCHAPELLE Corby's sister Mercedes was released late yesterday from hospital in Bali after being bashed early on Saturday morning amid rumours that she and her Balinese husband Wayan Widyartha have split.
But Mr Wayan later told Fairfax Media at the family compound: “We’re still together — people [just] say things”.
He indicated that Ms Corby was still in distress after the attack, in which she was set upon and “bashed by the robbers”.
Ms Corby reportedly sustained a broken nose, bruising and internal bleeding to the cornea. She checked into hospital on Saturday and had surgery on her injured nose.
Mr Wayan said seven men had attacked his wife in one of Kuta’s narrow streets, Jalan Poppies 2 and tried to steal her bag. This differed from his report to police on Saturday afternoon, when Mr Wayan said she was attacked because she confronted a number of men over obscene
comments they made in the Balinese language, which she understands.
The police chief of criminal investigation unit one at Kuta police, I Dewa Tagel, said Mr Wayan had made no mention of robbery as a motive for the attack in his initial report.
Mr Wayan also told reporters yesterday that an Australian man living in Bali had witnessed the assault and had helped Ms Corby. In his report to police, there was no mention of that man — he told them she had walked by herself several kilometres home.
The Australian man, who was at Mr Wayan’s family home on Tuesday afternoon, refused interviews as he left, but was reported to have said Mercedes had “blood all over her face and her eyes were closed”.
Mr Wayan said he was angry and was looking for the men who had assaulted Mercedes.
Police chief Dewa said the investigation was still in its early stages because “other than a report which states the location, there is no physical description of the people other than that they’re men and they speak Balinese”.
Mr Wayan insisted his wife was still living with him in the family compound in Kuta even though other sources were adamant that she had moved out several weeks ago and had told friends she was house-sitting at another location.
The state of their relationship is important to Mercedes’s imprisoned sister, Schapelle, because Mr Wayan and Mercedes have promised to take care of her physical and psychological needs if she is granted parole.
Last week the governor of Kerobokan prison released a letter written by Mr Wayan promising to have Shapelle Corby to live in his home, to help her financially and with her “morale,” and to oversee her education as “a responsible citizen” until her sentence ends in 2017.
Along with a controversial guarantee letter from the Australian government, this will be an important part of Corby’s parole bid, because without Mr Wayan’s Indonesian citizenship there would be no way Schapelle Corby could fulfil Indonesia’s strict residency requirements.
Her lawyer has said that, until the residency issue can be sorted out, Corby will not lodge her application for parole.
Corby’s parole was already in doubt under tough new laws in Indonesia which require her for the first time to say she was guilty of importing cannabis to Indonesia in 2004, and to show her willingness to inform on others as a “justice collaborator”.
Michael Bachelard is Fairfax's foreign editor and the investigations editor at The Age. He has worked in Canberra, Melbourne and Jakarta as Fairfax's Indonesia correspondent. He and has written two books and won multiple awards for journalism, including the Gold Walkley in 2017.
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