Australia

Australian woman to stand trial in Colombia over drugs

Cassie Sainsbury stands in front of a police banner soon after her arrest Image copyright Policía Nacional de Colombia
Image caption Cassie Sainsbury is accused of trying to smuggle cocaine out of Bogotá

A Colombian judge has rejected an Australian woman's plea bargain over cocaine-smuggling charges.

Cassie Sainsbury, 22, was stopped at an airport in Bogotá on 12 April after being found with 5.8kg (12lb 13oz) of cocaine in her luggage.

Ms Sainsbury has said she was coerced into taking the drugs after threats were made to her family.

She will now face trial at a later date. If convicted, the Adelaide woman could spend up to 30 years in jail.

Ms Sainsbury would have served a six-year sentence under the failed plea deal.

Judge Sergio León said the deal had been rejected because Ms Sainsbury had brought up new evidence at her previous court appearance.

Threat claim

In a written statement, Ms Sainsbury told the Bogotá court she had been threatened by a man with a gun.

She claimed the man had sent her photos of her family and threatened to harm them if she did not carry the drugs.

The cocaine was allegedly found concealed inside boxes of headphones.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Sainsbury (not pictured) was arrested at El Dorado International Airport

Her family has said the personal trainer had just finished a working holiday when she was arrested at El Dorado International Airport.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Colombia are severe and offenders can expect long prison sentences under harsh conditions.

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