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Michaella drug bust hearing is delayed

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 Michaella McCollum Connolly. Photo: Reuters

Michaella McCollum Connolly. Photo: Reuters

Michaella McCollum Connolly. Photo: Reuters

SUSPECTED drugs mule Michaella McCollum Connolly's court appearance in Peru was delayed again today.

The young Irishwoman has spent the past 15 days in an anti-drugs unit in Lima – but is not now expected to be charged until tomorrow or Thursday.

Her lawyer told the Herald that Michaella and her travel companion Melissa Reid, both 20, will today be moved out of police custody into judicial custody.

"The girls will be moved, probably to Callao where the court is and will probably be held there for a day or two," he said.

Mr Madden, who will attend the hearing along with the two women's Peruvian lawyer, said they will both be tried together.

"It is a very short procedure, it will last maybe less than one hour, it will all be conducted privately."

The women were carrying over 11kg of cocaine in their luggage when arrested. Being tried together means they will not face longer sentencing of 15 to 25 years.

"I think the consensus is that they will each be charged with just over 5kg; that is what we are hoping," Mr Madden said.

He also refuted allegations in the press over the weekend that Michaella owed €4,000 to drug dealers

"That is not true, she was not involved in the drugs trade at all. It is important to refute some of the things in the press, it is not helpful when false stories are put around," he added.

He also commented on the photos which allegedly show both women in Peru.

"Although the photographs show them smiling and having a good time, that was all posed."

Once the initial stages of the case are over, Mr Madden will prepare Michaella's defense with her lawyer in Lima, adding: "It will be very expensive for her family members to fly over here on a regular basis. We have set up a fund for members of the public to help the family out in that regard in Ireland."

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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