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Let's be serious. This is what Schapelle's future holds.

Schapelle Corby

When Schapelle Corby steps out of Kerobokan prison a free woman, I hope those shoving cameras and microphones in her face remember their humanity:

I hope she is given a fair chance to start again.

I hope she is judged on her behaviour and merits from here on in.

I hope she is able to somehow reconcile the last nine years with the love and support of those she truly trusts.

I hope she is given the space and time to allow a semblance of healing to occur.

But I know for a fact that none of this will happen.

I know that the paparazzi will set up permanently outside her sister’s house in Bali, where she’ll be serving out her parole for the next 3 years.

I know that we’ll be seeing her on the front cover of every magazine and website, and that her bikini body will be scrutinised.

I know that we’ll be invited to share in the joy of her wedding, her baby, her post-baby body bounce back, her divorce, her toy boy-lover, her love child, her plastic surgery disaster, her weight gain, her weight loss, her spiral into depression, her bounce back from depression, her nude photo scandal, her sex tape, her stars without make-up spread… and on it goes.

When Schapelle Corby was arrested on 8 October 2004 at Ngurah Rai Airport with 4.2 kg of weed in her boogie board bag, a national obsession began. It has endured nine long years and shows no sign of abating.

Seven News coverage of Schapelle’s trial.

I can probably just call her Schapelle, though, right? You all know who I am talking about straight away, don’t you? Schapelle, like Madonna, Cher and Beyonce, is now a mononymous person.

Our appetite for this story is insatiable. A lot of Australians see Bali as their little island getaway and were shocked when the Indonesian justice system dished out such a considerable punishment – especially without checking that we were cool with it first. We couldn’t believe that one of us (a young, attractive, female one of us) was actually being put behind bars.

Personally, I’ve always had a mild interest because Schapelle and I are around the same age.

At the time of her arrest I’d recently been to Bali. I remember feeling a small sense of: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Not that I am going around ramming narcotics into my water sports bag. I, like many of you, bought into the story that the baggage handlers had set her up. That was a good time for the suitcase cling wrap businesses wasn’t it? Did they even exist pre-Schapelle?

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As Schapelle stands on the precipice of a brand new life, I can’t help but think that while she may be in more comfortable surroundings, the already intensely bright spotlight on her is about to reach blazing proportions.

Her first paid interview is already being hotly debated, with figures as high as $3 million being thrown around. Australia appears evenly divided on whether or not Schapelle should be able to sell her story at all.

Schapelle’s sister, Mercedes, battles through the media.

What would you do in her situation?

I know what I would do; I’d put Liz Hayes, Ray Martin and Charlie Pickering into a jelly ring and yell, “Come in spinner!” while I lay in my mountain of cash. But jelly wrestling aside, what if she is actually innocent?

Schapelle has never wavered from her story in all this time. Truly, what if she is? It hurts my brain just thinking about that scenario. Who are we to deny her the chance to tell the “real” story and gain the financial compensation that would result from it.

From a legal view point, I get that it sets a dangerous precedent for Schapelle to be able to make money from her imprisonment and I get that we have a Proceeds of Crime Act for a very good reason.

I understand why we don’t want convicted criminals to profit from their crimes. Well, not the really bad ones anyway…

Schapelle has already released a book, My Story.

So, back to “Schapelle’s decade long detox, all her diet secrets here”. Whether you like it or not, she is now a member of your family. You can choose to let her into the house, or get a restraining order and only view her from 500 feet away.  Whichever you pick, she is going to be around on the Australian media landscape for many years to come.

Who knows? Maybe she will surprise all of us and say nothing. Perhaps she will smack everyone over the head with a big fat “no comment” and go about the rest of her life in a quiet and dignified fashion. Maybe.

Whatever happens with Schapelle, I’ll be watching.

Do you think that Schapelle Corby should be allowed to sell her story? 

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