A Colombian court has retired to consider the validity of a plea deal struck with Cassie Sainsbury, where she would spend six years in jail for her role in trafficking almost 6kg of cocaine.
Sainsbury had reached a preliminary deal with prosecutors to admit her involvement and spend six years in a Colombian prison.
But she may have jeopardised the agreement by claiming she was coerced into trafficking the drugs.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) July 26, 2017
To accept the plea deal and subsequent sentence, the court required her to confirm she had the intent of committing the crime.
Sainsbury appeared in court in Bogota on Thursday morning (AEST) to have a judge approve the deal.
Cassie Courtroom Twist - Cassie Sainsbury told the judge that she only trafficked drugs because of death threats to her family (1/2).— Seb Costello (@SebCostello9) July 26, 2017
Prosecutors are furious. They say there is no proof of this and that Cassie has not raised this issue with them previously (2/2).— Seb Costello (@SebCostello9) July 26, 2017
The Daily Telegraph reported from the courtroom in Bogota that Sainsbury told the court: "I didn't want to take a package with me. I was told my family and partner would be killed".
The judge questioned why Sainsbury had taken the plea deal, under which she had agreed she had smuggled the drugs with intent, when she now claimed she was coerced.
Colombia's Penal Code states that people caught with more than 2kg of cocaine serve a minimum of 10 years, 8 months and a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
Sainsbury, 22, was detained at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport on April 12 after she was found with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine hidden in 20 sets of headphones concealed in her luggage.
She initially told authorities she had no idea there were drugs inside the headphones, which she claimed were purchased as presents for people attending her upcoming wedding.
Sainsbury has already spent more than three months in El Buen Pastor Prison in Bogota.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Sunrise Sainsbury would continue to receive consular assistance throughout her ordeal, but people travelling overseas needed to be more aware.
"Like any Australian in trouble overseas, there will be consular assistance. Obviously, a warning needs to go out. People need to abide by the laws of that country. If not, they will face serious consequences."
Her sister Khala Sainsbury told Seven News the deal was the best outcome the family could have hoped for.
"I don't think there's much she can do when she comes back home, it's going to be hard for her to get a job," Khala Sainsbury said.
"It's going to be hard for her to do anything because she's always going to be labelled as Cocaine Cassie."Suggest a correction