There is no proof yet that Australian woman Cassandra Sainsbury, who is being held in a Colombian jail, was tricked into allegedly carrying cocaine in her suitcase or that another person was involved in the act, her lawyer says.
Her Colombia-based lawyer Orlando Herran, when interviewed on Adelaide’s FIVEaa radio in Spanish (with the interview translated by host David Penberthy), said that Ms Sainsbury has not yet decided how to plead to the drugs charges.
The 22-year-old was arrested at the El Dorado International Airport on April 12 after 5.8kg of cocaine was allegedly found hidden inside 18 headphone boxes in her suitcase.
Mr Herran said the Adelaide woman has told him she was tricked and was given the headphones by a man she knew only by Angelo or Tom.
The man offered to buy her the headphones for a cheap price and brought them to her at the airport, Ms Sainsbury told Mr Herran.
But while Mr Herran said he believes her story, he’s acknowledged they have a problem.
“He says that the grave problem is that at this point, we do not have any proof that she really was tricked or that this other person that she refers to exists or is guilty,” Mr Penberthy said while translating.
Mr Herran said the risk of taking the case before a judge is that if they claim Ms Sainsbury is innocent without proof and lose the hearing, she could be jailed for between eight and 20 years.
But Mr Herran said it’s possible she could strike a deal with the Colombian district attorney for a sentence as low as four years, if they take into account her youth, character and that she has never done anything wrong before.
“She’s young and it is important that she gets out as soon as possible,” the lawyer told Fairfax Media.
“There are many examples of Colombians and foreigners who have been able to reach an agreement with prosecutors.”
“If we can show she hasn’t had problems with police in Australia and no history of contact with drug traffickers, we can make a deal.”
“Also that her version of what happened is probably true despite any evidence to support her claim,” Mr Penberthy added.
Earlier Ms Sainsbury’s father Stuart Sainsbury told the Nine Network his daughter is certainly no drug mule.
Mr Sainsbury also said he can’t believe what is being said about his daughter on Facebook.
“I don’t believe she was a drug mule, she’s just my kid. Like, what parent thinks of their kid as a drug mule,” Mr Sainsbury told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
Other media reports have suggested Ms Sainsbury is in serious debt after the collapse of her fitness business in the South Australian town of Yorketown.