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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Schapelle Corby free at last

Although Schapelle Corby left prison on Monday, she can't come home to Australia until 2017.  She must stay in Bali and report to police every month until 2016. But it doesn't end there, she has to stay another 12 months under supervision.

Nobody, including the media, has a clue what's going on.  When she walked out of Kerobokan Prison, the anticipated media circus was waiting but Schapelle's head and face were completely covered so there was no photo opportunity for anyone.

Reporters were stunned to see veteran journalist Michael Willesee waiting in a van that whisked her off to a private, luxury venue in Oberoi.   The obvious conclusion was drawn that Willesee and Channel 7 had arranged an exclusive interview worth millions to the Corby family.  But what could Schapelle possibly say that would warrant a $2 or $3 million dollar price tag?

Channel 7's David Koch said he was disgusted that his network was prepared to pay a fortune to a convicted drug smuggler and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman sought advice yesterday on how he could confiscate any monies paid to Corby for a TV interview.

When Schapelle was first arrested, a poll revealed that 75 per cent of Australians believed she was innocent, now it's only 10 per cent. It's been a long time and interest has waned and her father's reputation as a drug trafficker didn't help.

Ratings for Channel 9's telemovie Schapelle were disappointing, coming in second to Channel 7's two part teleseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.

But Corby still has plenty of loyal supporters, including Channel 9's 60 Minutes producer Kathryn Bonella who wrote Schapelle's book My Story.  After all this time, she is still totally convinced of her innocence.

Corby also has a large following on the website The Expendable Project and its official Facebook group People for Schapelle Corby headed by Kim Bax, a Queensland nurse. 

Understandably, the Indonesian people are upset that a drug smuggler is about to be rewarded with millions of dollars for a single interview. Yesterday the head of the Bali Parole Board visited Corby and warned her about breaching parole conditions in any future interviews and Kerobokan prison boss Farid Junaedi said it would be "stupid" for Corby to speak to the media. 

I hope she heeds their advice.