SCHAPELLE Corby was considered for the death penalty by Indonesian authorities but was only spared because of her young age.
Prosecutor, Ida Bagus Wiswantan, gave Corby a second chance despite her refusal to admit she was guilty, The Daily Telegraph reports.
"I felt that Corby can still rehabilitate herself so the death sentence is not the punishment. If she got the death sentence she cannot rehabilitate. But I felt that Corby has the chance to fix herself," Wiswantan said.
"For sure it (the death penalty) was discussed."
Instead, she was sentenced to 20 years' in Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail.
Corby is expected to be deported from Bali on Saturday. She was released from prison in 2014 but was unable to leave Indonesia until this month according to parole conditions.
The former former Gold Coast beauty student was convicted of smuggling 4.1kg of cannabis in a boogie board bag in 2004.
Corby's mother, Rosleigh Rose, has repeatedly claimed Australian Federal Police and government withheld proof of her daughter's innocence.
She said on Thursday former AFP commissioner Mick Keelty, ex-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and former Customs Minister Chris Ellison all knew the truth about her daughter's innocence.
Lawyers for Corby claimed in 2005 that she'd been unknowingly used as a courier by organised interstate drug smugglers.
Mr Keelty said in March 2005 that an affidavit naming three baggage handlers as those who had planted the drugs was "hearsay" that contained no direct evidence to Corby's case.
Corby's mother lives in Loganlea, south of Brisbane, and sister Mercedes lives on the Gold Coast.
Schapelle had "mixed emotions" about returning to Australia.
But Ms Rose, who has not seen Schapelle in person for two years, is thrilled she is coming home.
"I'm getting excited now - it's been 12-and-a-half years coming," she said.
WHEN CORBY LEFT GOLD COAST
SCHAPELLE Corby saw the Gold Coast for the last time on October 8, 2004 when she drove to Brisbane and flew out on her fateful trip to Bali.
As she left on that unseasonably hot Friday, Corby, 27, news in Australia included:
* Bushfires hit the Hinterland, forcing emergency action from firefighters
* Locals were a day away from re-electing John Howard's government for the final time, a poll at which Tweed Heads-based MP Justine Elliott was first elected.
* Future Australia captain Michael Clarke made his test debut, scoring a century against India.
* US President George W Bush was campaigning for his re-election.
As she prepares to fly back in, Corby will find a very different Gold Coast to the one she left.