WHEN Schapelle Corby arrived back home in Australia earlier this month, speculation surrounding the moment the convicted drug smuggler would break her silence was rife.
Would it be a Sunday Night or 60 Minutes tell-all? Maybe a magazine exclusive. And more importantly, how much would the 39-year-old be paid from the highly anticipated interview.
But then she surprised everyone.
On her meticulously planned mission home to Australia, she began an Instagram account. Amassing nearly 110,000 followers in less than 24 hours, her account now has 196,000 fans.
Selfies from the trip to the airport to the flight home followed. Then a video mocking the media frenzy. And another video taunting the gathered press as she drove by without them knowing.
Back home, she’s peppered her feed with general happy snaps from her adventures out and about.
But Corby’s chances of a nice payday in exchange for an exclusive interview may be slipping away, with Woman’s Day editor Fiona Connolly warning “the value of her authorised interview is 100 per cent waning with every single post”.
“She has thrown me,” Connolly told The Australian.
“I thought I knew what I was dealing with, but suddenly she’s taken this strange new path where she’s been really open.”
She added: “If we had a contract with a celebrity for exclusive rights and photos, and that celebrity posted on Instagram, I would cancel the contract.
Questions had been raised about the legalities of Corby profiting from the nine years she spent in a Bali prison — with some reports speculating an exclusive television interview could have secured her at least $1 million.
But Melbourne lawyer Christian Juebner, who specialises in proceeds of crime laws, told news.com.au it was legal for Corby to accept money for an interview about her ordeal as a convicted drug trafficker.
But she would “run the risk” of having any money she is paid retrieved by the Commonwealth.
“There’s a misunderstanding where people think there’s a prohibition of paying money to her,” Mr Juebner said.
“It’s not illegal for her to receive something. But if someone is reasonably suspected to have received a benefit from exploiting their notoriety arising from an offence, the AFP Commissioner can seek an order causing the benefit to be forfeited to the Commonwealth.”
Mr Juebner said the same laws applied if Corby benefited from any services offered to her for free.
“The word benefit is not limited to a financial payment to her, it’s any commercial benefit she receives,” he said.
“If she saves costs in arranging her own security it’s still a benefit conferred on her.
“It’s whether the AFP commissioner would bother taking that action because its discretionary.”
Photo credit: Joy105.com Files/News AU