FROM prison to paradise – Schapelle Corby has today walked free on parole from her Bali jail and whisked away to a luxury resort after she was granted parole last Friday.
Dozens of police began clearing a pathway through the awaiting media frenzy outside Kerobokan prison shortly before 10am AEST, ensuring the safety of the 36-year-old former Gold Coast beautician when released.
Around 20 minutes later (8.15am local Bali time), the prison doors opened and Schapelle – whose face was obscured in a potential bid to secure the exclusivity of her first pictures – was ushered into a prison van just 20 metres away and whisked off to the parole office in Denpasar.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Schapelle arrived at the prosecutors office where she spent half-an-hour completing paperwork for her official release.
She was then escorted in to a black van, this time headed for the corrections office where the intense media scrum was just as horrendous, with officials having to push Corby through the pack of journalists and cameramen and inside the building.
She was seen through a window meeting with officials, sitting in a chair with her back to the media scrum.
A police prosecutor told Karl Stefanovic from Channel Nine, Corby was “crying in trauma of the press” when she first got inside the corrections office and signed her documents.
Once completed, Schapelle left the meeting in a private vehicle, bound for a luxury resort location in the fashionable district of Seminyak where it is expected she will film an exclusive interview before eventually returning to her sister Mercedes’ home in Kuta where she will be required to serve the remainder of her parole sentence.
She will not be able to return to Australia until 2017, but for now, the woman who has always proclaimed her innocence is now officially free on parole.
Schapelle was arrested in 2004 for attempting to smuggle 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into Bali concealed in her body board bag.
She was later convicted, spared the death penalty and sentenced to 20 years jail.
It is reported the Seven Network’s Sunday Night crew were driving closely behind Corby’s private vehicle after leaving the corrections office, leading to speculation they may have secured the rights to her first interview as a van pulled into the middle of the road and blocked all other traffic.
The exclusive television deal, estimated to be worth around $3 million, is tipped to go down as one of the biggest chequebook journalism deals in Australian TV history.
EARLIER: IT WAS the case that gripped Australia and after spending the last nine years in a Bali prison, Schapelle Corby is expected to walk free this afternoon.
The boss of Kerobokan prison, Farid Junaedi, has arrived at the Bali jail, confirming the signed parole papers needed for Corby’s parole have been received from Jakarta in time for an afternoon release.
He is expected to brief the media at 10am local time (1pm AEDT) to give an update on the procedures.
Last Friday, Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin confirmed the former Gold Coast beautician’s bid for parole from Kerobokan prison had been signed off and granted.
Today, the nation waits to see the woman whose life was turned upside down all those years ago – the woman who has always proclaimed her innocence – happy and walking free.
If her documents were to arrive on Monday afternoon, she would likely face another night in her jail cell and be freed on Tuesday.
Once released, Schapelle will be required to fulfill a number of legalities before being able to leave with her family.
She will have to immediately report to a parole office in Denpasar for fingerprinting before visiting the corrections office where she will be formally briefed on her parole conditions. Only then will she be free to go.
It is expected the 36-year-old will serve the remainder of her sentence in her sister Mercedes’ Kuta home while working in her brother-in-law’s factory.
However there are reports she could move anywhere in Bali given she advises authorities of her plans first. She will not be able to return to Australia until late 2017. myGC will have updates on Schapelle’s imminent release throughout the day