Crime

Is Schapelle Corby innocent or guilty?

Did she do it?
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Schapelle Corby is one of Australia’s most divisive characters, after being convicted in 2005 of smuggling cannabis into Indonesia.

WATCH: Schapelle Corby breaks down on SAS Australia

Now the 43-year-old is making headlines again thanks to her upcoming and surprise appearance in Channel Seven’s spectacular new season of Dancing With The Stars Australia. While it may have been over a decade since the incident, her time on reality TV keeps the taboo topic tied to her name on everyone’s lips.

As Australians get to see Schapelle step into the spotlight once more on the program, let’s take a look back at her complex legal past and address the question that still fascinates us more than a decade later.

Was Schapelle Corby innocent or guilty – and did she really do it?

Image: Getty
Schapelle was caught with cannabis at an airport in Bali. (Image: Getty)

What Did Schapelle Corby Do?

In 2007, Schapelle was traveling with her brother and two friends from Brisbane to Bali, via Sydney. When she arrived at the airport in Denpasar, she was stopped by customs officers and found to have 4.2kg of cannabis concealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag in her unlocked bodyboard bag.

She tried to prevent customs officials from opening the bag, but later said she had no idea there were drugs in the bag until it was opened right then and there at the airport.

She was later arrested on drug smuggling charges and thrown into the brutal Kerobokan Prison in Bali.

A year later, in 2005, she was convicted of serious charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Image: Getty
Schapelle was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Image: Getty)

Was Schapelle Corby innocent?

Schapelle has always maintained her innocence and throughout her trial, her lawyers argued she had absolutely no idea about the cannabis in her bag, and that she had unintentionally become a drug mule, suggesting it was baggage handlers who put the drugs in her bag.

During an interview with Studio 10 in 2019 to promote her memoir My Story, she insisted she is innocent and revealed she is working with an activist group to clear her name.

“I have these phenomenal, dedicated people called The Expendable Project and they have spent years seeking freedom of information [requests] and documents and it proves what I say about myself,” she said.

“I think all the evidence is there, I just want to live at the moment and move forward.”

When asked who she believes planted the drugs in her bag, Schapelle said: “I don’t know … There’s nothing I can say to save myself.”

She also bemoaned the fact that she is referred to as a “convicted drug smuggler” in media coverage.

“I’m Schapelle Corby the drug trafficker. I see it in every headline. Whenever there is an article that just says ‘Schapelle Corby’, I acknowledge the absence of the [phrase] drug smuggler.”

Image: Getty
Schapelle is still working to clear her name. (Image: Getty)

But One Of Her Fellow Prisoners Says Schapelle Admitted She Was Guilty

Fellow Australian prisoner Renae Lawrence, a member of the infamous Bali Nine heroin smugglers, revealed during an interview with Channel 10 in 2014 that after living in the same prison cell block as Schapelle for five years, she actually heard her shock confession.

Renae claimed Schapelle “did a good job on keeping secrets, but she let one slip one night” to herself and another prisoner.

“She said that she knew the marijuana was in the body [sic] bag but that the person who was supposed to be at the airport at that time didn’t show up for work or couldn’t be there for some strange reason, I don’t know … And that’s how she got caught,” Renae revealed.

“She told me and the other prisoner that she did it more than this time. She got away with it before … and she said how she had to keep saying that she wasn’t guilty because if she changed her mind she was scared she would lose all the Australian support.”

Renae claimed Schapelle, who made four visits to Bali in the years before her arrest, had gotten away with smuggling drugs on those previous trips.

“She said she brought the drugs before, three times. The first time she didn’t know [about the drugs] until she got through the airport, but the other times she knew.”

Image: Getty
Schapelle’s former prison mate says she admitted she was guilty. (Image: Getty)

Did Schapelle Corby Get Out Of Jail Early?

Schapelle saw out nine years of her 20-year sentence in prison, getting off early on parole in 2014, after petitioning the President of Indonesia for leniency on the grounds of mental illness.

Schapelle claimed her mental health had suffered significantly in prison and was granted a five-year sentence reduction.

She was placed on parole and forced to stay in Bali for three years until 2017 when she returned home to Australia.

But Renae Lawrence claims Schapelle made up these mental health issues in order to get a reduction in her sentence.

“She, um, actually, she acted crazy … She said it herself,” Renae claimed in the Ten interview.

“She played crazy so that she would get more sympathy and more time off from the President of Indonesia. Which actually worked for her … She would put on more of an act when someone important came into the block like the doctor of the jail boss.”

Image: Instagram
Schapelle pictured in a recent Instagram snap. (Image: Instagram)

What Is Schapelle Corby Doing Now?

Schapelle currently lives in her hometown of Brisbane and is officially a free woman. In fact, she’s kinda come out of it all now, in 2021, as a reality TV star.

Recently, she appeared on the Channel Seven series, SAS Australia, where it’s believed she was paid a significant fee by Seven. On the show, she was pressed to plead her innocence yet again – on the bright side she was racking in that coin?

Now, she’s practising her dance moves with Sydney dancer Shae Mountain to cha-cha and heel turn her way to the top in Dancing With The Stars. Although news of her wildcard debut was met with some unpopular fan opinions.

Beyond her on-screen performances, Schapelle Corby makes money through her memoir and through sales of her paintings and craft endeavours online. 

Whether you believe Schapelle Corby is innocent or guilty, you can’t deny that her alleged drug mule past is tied to her legacy. But, that hasn’t stopped her. She’s still going strong, accruing a large social media profile with 167,000 followers on Instagram

For more on Schapelle Corby’s stint on Dancing With The Stars, click here.

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