Solicitor hopes Peru legal system will be fair to accused

Belfast Solicitor Peter McFadden speaks to the media as he arrives at George Best Belfast City Airport on his way to Peru, where he will represent Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, from Dungannon, one of the women held on suspicion of drug smuggling. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. His model client has been accused with Scotswoman Melissa Reid, 19, of trying to leave the country with �1.5 million of cocaine in their luggage. They were detained while trying to board a flight from the Peruvian capital to Spain last week. See PA story POLICE Peru. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Belfast Solicitor Peter McFadden speaks to the media as he arrives at George Best Belfast City Airport on his way to Peru, where he will represent Michaella McCollum Connolly, 20, from Dungannon, one of the women held on suspicion of drug smuggling. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. His model client has been accused with Scotswoman Melissa Reid, 19, of trying to leave the country with �1.5 million of cocaine in their luggage. They were detained while trying to board a flight from the Peruvian capital to Spain last week. See PA story POLICE Peru. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
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A SOLICITOR for a woman accused of trying to smuggle £1.5 million worth of cocaine said he intends to discuss her case with police in Peru today.

Human rights lawyer Peter Madden will this afternoon go to a police holding centre in Lima where Michaella McCollum Connolly and co-accused Melissa Reid are being detained.

In a statement released last night through his Belfast-based firm, Mr Madden said he would not be commenting on the case until after the meeting.

“Mr Peter Madden lawyer of Michaella McCollum will not be making any comment on behalf of his client until he has further spoken to his client in relation to her situation in Peru.

“He intents to attend the police station tomorrow afternoon and will make a statement outside afterwards and answer questions,” the statement said.

Ms McCollum Connolly and Ms Reid, 20, from Glasgow are being held on drug trafficking allegations.

The pair were arrested last week while trying to board a flight from Lima to Madrid. Police said they found around 11 kilos of cocaine hidden inside food packages in their luggage.

Both women deny the allegations and claim they were forced to carry the bags by armed men.

They have yet to be formally charged but could be held up for up to 30 days before appearing in court. If refused bail they face up to three years in jail before a trial.

Previously, Mr Madden who provided legal representation for three Irish republicans arrested in 2001 in Colombia for allegedly training members of Farc, said he hoped the legal system in Peru would be fair.

“I think there is hope but it depends very much on the prosecuting authorities here as to whether or not they’re going to do this in a fair way, because the process here seems to be that once you’re charged there’s no bail for these type of offences and she will have to go to trial,” he said.