Cassie Sainsbury Learns Her Fate

Live updates as it happens.

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BREAKING UPDATE 7:35AM: Cassie Sainsbury's six year plea deal has been rejected because claims of coercion invalidate her ability to take responsibility for the crime.

She will stand trial and face 30 years behind bars.

UPDATE: 7:19AM: A translator has told the court Cassie's plea deal may not be valid because her claim of coercion invalidates her confession.

The six year plea deal was agreed to on the basis that the 22-year-old take responsibility for trafficking the drugs. 

UPDATE 7:02AM: Cassie Sainsbury is maintaining she was coerced into trafficking 5.8kg of cocaine through Bogota Airport in her luggage. 

During her last court appearance in July the prosecution claimed she had "no evidence" to back up the claim.

It could damage her chance of having a proposed six year plea deal accepted by a judge.

UPDATE 6:48AM: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed to Nine that Australian consular officials are in the courtroom where Cassie Sainsbury is awaiting a decision on her six year plea deal.

It's still unclear whether the judge will accept it or commit her to trial where she's facing up to 30 years behind bars. 

UPDATE 5:50AM: Cassie Sainsbury has just arrived entered the Bogota courtroom where a judge will decide whether to accept or reject her six year drug trafficking plea deal. 

If he rejects the deal the 22-year-old will go to trial where she faces up to 30 years behind bars.

EARLIER: Cassie Sainsbury is expected to learn her fate in a Colombian court on Thursday.

In July the 22-year-old Adelaide woman's plea hearing was cut short after she claimed she had been coerced into smuggling 5.8 kilograms of cocaine out of Bogota Airport in April.

She had previously cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to serve a six year jail sentence – down from a maximum of 30 – in exchange for pleading guilty to smuggling the drugs in 18 headphone packages.

"The question is were you under threat to take the drugs with you?" asked a translator speaking for the judge.

"...Sí [Yes]."

"Who threatened you?"

"I don't know the exact person," Sainsbury replied.

"How did this threat happen?"

"Because I didn't want to take any package anywhere."

"What would have happened if you didn't take that with you?"

"I was told that my family and partner would be killed."

– An excerpt from Sainsbury's court hearing on July 27

The judge suspended his decision in the wake of revelations – and is now expected to hand down a more lenient sentence.

She could spend as little as five years in prison.


9 August 2017

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