THE solicitor for Dungannon woman Michaella McCollum Connolly, who is currently being held in a Peruvian prison after allegedly being found with cocaine in her luggage, has said his client is worried about the future.
Speaking on radio, Peter Madden from law firm Madden and Finucane said Michaella and her co-accused Melissa Reid were finding their time in the Virgen de Fatima prison challenging due to the language barrier.
“They don’t have any Spanish; they don’t understand the instructions or signs,” he said.
Mr Madden said Michaella is currently in an area of the prison awaiting assessment after which she will be moved to a different section where she will be held until her trial.
The solicitor said Michaella and Melissa from Lenzie near Glasgow, have become best friends and are supporting each other through this difficult ordeal.
“They are two young girls who were coerced into carrying out this transaction,” he said.
“The Peruvian system is just like our own - that you are innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
The solicitor said the difficulty that Michaella has is that the system favours a person who accepts responsibility in some way for the crime, which results in a dramatic decrease in sentence.
“Michaella has made the case that she was coerced and was under threat - both girls have said that - but there will come a time in the near future where they will have to make a decision as to which way they go, as to whether or not they do accept responsibility or whether they go the whole way to a trial,” he said.
The Belfast based solicitor said this decision could be reached within the next few weeks.