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Cassie Sainsbury Could Get 'Conditional Liberty' If She Pleads Complicity: Lawyer

Her lawyer says her case could be closed in 90 days.

04/05/2017 1:41 PM AEST | Updated 04/05/2017 1:43 PM AEST

The Adelaide woman charged with attempting to traffic 5.8kg of cocaine out of Colombia could have her case ruled on in as little as 90 days and be granted "conditional liberty" if she admits complicity, her lawyer Orlando Herran told the ABC.

Cassie Sainsbury is yet to decide how she will plead to the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Handout . / Reuters
A shell-shocked looking Cassie Sainsbury in handcuffs after her arrest at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia on April 12.

The 22-year-old is "very traumatised" by her imprisonment, Herran said, and he was focused on minimising the time she has to spend in jail.

"She is psychologically affected by this. She cries a lot, almost all the time, because she feels powerless with this situation," he said.

"If we go for innocence and try to prove that, it will delay between a year and a year and a half. That process will ensure that Cassandra is in prison and that's difficult."

Sainsbury has been kept in the severely overcrowded El Buen Pastor women's prison with other foreign nationals for three weeks, after being arrested at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá on April 12. Colombian police allege they found 18 packets of cocaine in her luggage, which in Australia would have a street value of around $2 million.

The Government has long warned Australians that if they travel to Colombia, they are subject to Colombian laws." - Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

The 22-year-old's family has continued to protest her innocence, saying she thought the package she was carrying were headphones she bought as gifts for her bridal party, but Colombian authorities have cast doubt on her story.

"Everyone who is caught says exactly the same thing," the head of anti narcotics police at the airport, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Triana, told Colombia's W radio station, claiming that foreigners were being solicited as drug mules with promises of huge rewards.

Colombia is the world's largest cocaine producer, providing more than half of the world's illicit supply -- 487 tons annually.

Her lawyer is hoping to make a deal with prosecutors, which could see her avoid drug trafficking charges, instead pleading guilty to complicity through not reviewing her luggage.

Herran said that could mean reducing her sentence to a minimum four years and opening the way for parole or house arrest in Colombia or even Australia.

"She would have to present herself before authorities and (follow) rules of conduct and a series of controls. If we get this, we could ask that she return to Australia and keep this condition and finish her punishment with Australian authorities," Mr Herran told the ABC.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Sainsbury's case should act as a reminder to all Australians to act with caution when travelling overseas and obey the laws of the land.

"The Government has long warned Australians that if they travel to Colombia, they are subject to Colombian laws and penalties for possession or use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Colombia are severe and they include imprisonment in local jails," she told RN Breakfast on Thursday morning.

"There is a limit to what Australia can do, just as there is a limit to what other countries could do if their nationals were caught up in legal proceedings in Australia."

She said that she has not contacted the family directly, but Sainsbury is being provided with consular assistance through Australia's Consulate General in Bogota. This included visits, help obtaining legal representation and providing her with personal hygiene items.

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