Media frenzy as Aussie drug trafficker returns home

Australian Schapelle Corby being escorted by Bali police at the parole office in Denpasar, Indonesia, last Saturday.
Australian Schapelle Corby being escorted by Bali police at the parole office in Denpasar, Indonesia, last Saturday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BRISBANE • Australian Schapelle Corby battled a media storm as she returned home from Bali yesterday, 12 years after her conviction for drug trafficking, in a dramatic end to a saga that captivated her homeland.

The beauty school dropout hit Australian headlines when she was arrested in 2004 at Bali airport aged 27 with several kilograms of hashish stashed in her surfing gear, and was jailed the following year for 20 years.

Her sentence was cut due to regular remissions and after an appeal to the President, and she served nine years behind bars.

She was released early in 2014 but was required to remain in Bali for three years under the conditions of her parole.

Corby and her sister Mercedes used multiple vehicle convoys to confuse the media when they left the airport in Brisbane early yesterday morning.

A statement by her family expressed their "gratefulness and relief that this morning we mark Schapelle Corby's return to Australia".

"We would like to say thank you to Schapelle's supporters for all the faith, love and support they have shown over the years... Priority of focus will now be on healing and moving forward."

Corby, now 39, has maintained her innocence, insisting the drugs had been planted, and received much support back home where some believed she had been set up or was the victim of a supposedly corrupt justice system.

Her final day on the Indonesian resort island was a blaze of media attention, as she was hustled out of a villa with her face hidden under a scarf and chased by a pack of journalists before her flight home.

Despite the controversy surrounding her case, Indonesia has stepped up its campaign against drug use since she was jailed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Media frenzy as Aussie drug trafficker returns home'. Print Edition | Subscribe