Bali nine member Renae Lawrence is due to be released from an Indonesian prison. Picture: Lukman Bintoro/News Corp Australia
Bali nine member Renae Lawrence is due to be released from an Indonesian prison. Picture: Lukman Bintoro/News Corp Australia

Bali Nine smuggler Renae Lawrence released from jail

Bali Nine drug mule Renae Lawrence has been released from Bangli prison after more than 13 years behind bars.

The 41-year-old, who was the only woman in the failed 2005 plot to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin into Australia, is the first to be released from prison.

A prison spokesman said on Wednesday evening at 6pm Bali time (8pm Sydney time) that the final paperwork for her release had been signed.

She needed immigration forms to enable her to travel across the Indonesian island to Denpasar airport - the very place she was arrested.

Renae Lawrence walks free after almost 14 years . Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro
Renae Lawrence walks free after almost 14 years . Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

The immigration department said Lawrence must be immediately deported from Indonesia following the release. When she arrives at the airport she will be detained in a room while she awaits her flight departure in line with all those being deported, the official said.

"This is the paperwork needed for Renae Lawrence to leave Indonesia immediately. This paper says she is now a free woman".

A prison spokesman holds aloft Renae Lawrence's release papers.
A prison spokesman holds aloft Renae Lawrence's release papers.

Lawrence was expected to be released from prison last night but it was changed to daylight hours. She is now unlikely to fly out until tonight as there are no commercial flights to Sydney until this evening.

Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence inside Bangli Jail. Picture: Lukman Bintoro/News Corp Australia
Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence inside Bangli Jail. Picture: Lukman Bintoro/News Corp Australia

When she returns home, she is expected to face a NSW court over an alleged high speed chase in a stolen car on the NSW Central Coast in March 2005.

However, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller suggested she was unlikely to be arrested as soon as she lands in Australia.

"I can confirm there's two outstanding arrest warrants for her and from our perspective we will make a time reasonable with her legal team to bring her in to have those warrants satisfied," he told reporters yesterday.

The two outstanding arrest warrants are for offences including stealing a motor vehicle, driving while unlicensed, speeding and failing to comply with police directions.

 

/Indonesian police mugshot of Renae Lawrence taken in April 2005.
/Indonesian police mugshot of Renae Lawrence taken in April 2005.

 

Lawrence had been due to face court over the pursuit, but she was arrested with the heroin strapped to her back and legs at Bali's airport, along with eight other Australians attempting to smuggle the drug.

Unlike her conspirators, Lawrence did not appeal her 20 year sentence. While they saw their prison time increased - or the death penalty imposed - she remained on her original sentence.

With gradual reductions for good behaviour, she managed to whittle away at the time she needed to stay behind bars.

 

Convicted drug traffickers Schapelle Corby (right) and Renae Lawrence at Kerobokan Prison in Denpasar in 2008.
Convicted drug traffickers Schapelle Corby (right) and Renae Lawrence at Kerobokan Prison in Denpasar in 2008.

Lawrence was originally incarcerated at the notorious Kerobokan prison in Bali's capital of Denpasar, with the other members of the group. But in 2014 she was moved away from the tough confines of Kerobokan to Bangli prison.

As she leaves jail, Lawrence will be able to take a few handicrafts she has made with her.

Mr Suwendra praised Lawrence for being co-operative and quiet during the years she spent in custody.

She had made friends among other prisoners and contributed to prison life.

"It is time for her to be freed," he said.


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