'I Haven't Left, It's Still There': Schapelle Corby Reveals Her Hardest Moment In Bali Prison
Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby appeared on Studio 10 on Wednesday morning for her first TV interview since she arrived back in Australia from Bali.
Corby, 42, fought back tears as she opened up to the panel about how hard the last 13 years have been. She revealed never-before-told details recorded in her updated book My Story.
"I just felt I needed to finish the story," Corby exclusively told Studio 10.
Corby revealed that her struggle with mental illness was the hardest part of her years in prison.
"I lived in my brain, the brain is very powerful. I could not control anything. I couldn't eat. Mercedes had to come in and sleep in the prison a few times with me. I was catatonic," Corby said.
Corby also said she hopes to clear her name so she is not considered a drug smuggler but she conceded she still has no idea who committed the crime.
"Who do I think did this? I don't know. But part of my mental illness was being accused of this and there was nothing I could say to save myself."
Corby also shared intimate details about the moment she was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In the seven months she'd spent in prison before learning her fate, Corby practiced counting in Indonesian from one to 20 so she might understand how long she'd spend behind bars in the moment.
But when the sentence was handed down, her translator was told to stop speaking and she struggled to understand what was happening around her.
" I just felt so stupid. Why can't I understand this? I already practiced. Maybe I thought it was two months. I thought I had been here for seven, I'm going home," Corby told the Studio 10 panel.
"And she said no, I was like, what? Come up here and talk to me. So I was like, two years? No. So it must be 20? So I just turned to the prosecutor and I started yelling."
Corby flew from Brisbane to Bali on October 4, 2004. When the then-27-year-old arrived, a 4.2 kilogram sack of cannabis was found in her bodyboard bag as she attempted to clear customs. She was arrested and held in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison until 2005 when she was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to 20 years jail.
She was granted a five-year sentence reduction in 2012 and just two years later, Corby was released on parole. According to the parole conditions, Corby was to be deported from Bali to Australia on 27 May 2017.
She arrived home on this date, 13-years after she was arrested.
Throughout the ordeal, Corby maintained she was innocent of any crime.
During her trial, Corby’s lawyers argued that she had no knowledge of the cannabis in her bag and that she had willingly opened the bodyboard bag for Indonesian customs officials when she was asked.
Her three travelling companions, one of which was her brother, each testified that they had seen Corby pack the bodyboard bag herself and that is had only contained a set of flippers and the board.
But, customs officers contradicted this. Officer Guti Nyoman Winata claimed Corby attempted to stop him from opening the bag, especially the pouch where the cannabis was concealed.
Corby denied this, saying she immediately opened the bag when Winata asked. She also stated that she and customs officers had difficulty communicating during their conversation.
No CCTV footage of the interaction at the airport was retrieved or preserved for the trial. In fact, the prosecutor said the cameras were not checked whatsoever.
The bodyboard bag was not fingerprinted by Indonesian police or customs officials. The bag of cannabis itself was also not fingerprinted. The lack of forensic testing was widely condemned by Australian media at the time, who claimed the use of such techniques could have helped Corby’s case.
Corby also requested her bag be weighed as a means of proving her innocence. While her bag wasn’t weighed individually at Brisbane Airport, a total weight of 65 kilos for the four people travelling together was taken collectively.
Corby had asked that all four bags be weighed again as a means of proving the cannabis had been added to her bag after she checked in, confirming that she did not pack the drug in the bag herself. This request was denied.
Corby shared her prison cell block with 85 other women. She spent her time assisting others with personal grooming and she made jewellery. From 2008, Corby was transported at least twice to hospital for treatment for depression and psychotic episodes. She was also receiving medication to help treat her mental conditions.
Corby confirmed that she and her Sumatran partner Ben are trying to have a child. They have seen each other twice since Corby was deported to Australia.
"I am not blacklisted but I am not comfortable yes. He can't come here and doesn't want to live here. He just wants to come and see me," Corby said.
"If it happens, it happens."
Schapelle Corby's updated book My Story is out now.
Contact Siobhan at email@example.com