independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Michaella 'considering' response to pal's plea

Michaella McCollum Connolly pictured following her arrest

SUSPECTED drug smuggler Michaella McCollum Connolly's lawyer is considering her co-accused's plan to plead guilty.

The 20-year-old (pictured) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was arrested with Glaswegian Melissa Reid and accused of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5m (€1.8m) out of Peru.

Ms Reid (20), said in an interview she was prepared to plead guilty for a shorter sentence.

Yesterday, solicitor Peter Madden said: "There's an indication there, and I'm just considering what response should be made at this stage."

It is understood that pleading guilty could see the pair's sentences cut from up to 25 years to six years and eight months.

The pair are also being represented by Spanish lawyers Fischman and Fischman.

Partner Emilia Fischman said: "The girls will give their statement on September 24 in front of the judge.

"It's the judge and the district attorney. They will decide what they are going to do.

"They are doing well. They are in a new prison. They have a bed, they are comfortable.

"They are together in a room, which is a lot in this country where usually there are seven or eight people in a small cell. They are in humane conditions."

A fund set up to help pay Ms McCollum Connolly's legal costs has attracted donations of only £500 (€600), despite a target of £20,000 (€24,000).

By Claire Williamson

Irish Independent

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