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Renae Lawrence won't act like Corby when she's released, dad says

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 17/08/2017 Emily McPherson
Renae Lawrence in a holding cell at Denpasar Court in 2006 © AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Renae Lawrence in a holding cell at Denpasar Court in 2006

The father of Bali Nine drug mule Renae Lawrence said his daughter won’t be free by mid-next year even if she gets a sentence cut today.

Rob Lawrence told nine.com.au the 39-year-old will instead be forced to serve an extra six months in jail at the end of her sentence to avoid paying a $100,000 fine that came with her drug smuggling conviction.

The extra jail time will cancel out the six-month sentence cut Lawrence is expected to be granted today – along with 24 other foreign prisoners in Bali - and mean her release date is likely to be at the end of next year at the earliest.

“She won’t be getting out when they say she’s getting out because there’s a $100,000 fine she’s got to pay and we can’t pay that - we haven’t got it,” Mr Lawrence said from his home in Newcastle, NSW.

“She’s going to have to do the extra time to cut it out.”

Mr Lawrence said his daughter, who will turn 40 in prison this October, was determined to keep a very low profile once she was released.

“She just wants to come home and get on with her life. She doesn’t want it to be like the Corbys,” he said, referring to Lawrence’s former fellow Australian inmate Schapelle Corby, who has amassed a huge following on Instagram since her return to Australia in May.

Lawrence was sentenced to 20 years in jail for her part in the 2004 Bali Nine heroin smuggling plot, but has already shaved off more than five years for good behaviour since her imprisonment.

Mr Lawrence said he had last seen his daughter in February when he went to Bali to visit her.

Despite her circumstances, Mr Lawrence said his daughter was doing well since she had been moved to Bangli Prison on the island's north.

“She is doing quite well. She was in the best frame of mind that we’ve seen her in actually,” Mr Lawrence said.

“The people around her are really good. All the guards there are really nice.”

Mr Lawrence said all of her family were looking forward to her coming home.

“We just want her to come home and be safe.”

“She is a great kid. She just got conned that’s all. We love her,” he said.

Lawrence was 27 when she was arrested with almost 2.7kg of heroin strapped to her body 13 years ago. She was reported to have been down on her luck, having recently broken up with her girlfriend and facing severe money troubles.

While working at a catering company, Lawrence fell in with her colleagues Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman, and her supervisor, Andrew Chan who would all become part of the notorious Bali Nine.

Lawrence is the only member of the Bali Nine who is eligible for sentence cuts which routinely occur in Indonesia on Independence Day and also on religious holidays, including Christmas and Idul Fitri.

Scott Rush and Michael Czugaj, who were caught along with the executed Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in 2005, are serving life sentences making them ineligible for remission.

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