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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Michaella McCollum Connolly to plead guilty to drug trafficking charges

The Monaghan-born woman, accused of trying to smuggle drugs from Peru to Spain, is hoping to receive a shorter sentence in return for entering a guilty plea.

Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in court last month
Michaella McCollum Connolly and Melissa Reid in court last month
Image: Martin Mejia/AP/Press Association Images

MICHAELLA MCCOLLUM CONNOLLY – the Irish woman arrested in Peru last month on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 11 kilos of cocaine out of the South American country – has indicated she will plead guilty when the case goes before court later today.

The 20-year-old has said she is likely to follow the same strategy as her co-accused, Scottish woman Melissa Reid, who also pleaded guilty in a bid to receive a shorter sentence.

Journalist Martina Hanlon, who visited the two women in prison, said that that McCollum Connolly understood that the judicial process “will be much simpler if both women plead guilty together”.

“They’re hoping that will speed up the process and they won’t have to wait too long until they’re sentenced,” Hanlon told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“They understand from their lawyer that if they plead guilty automatically the number of years that they serve would be less than if they were pleading not guilty.”

Hanlon said McCollum Connolly’s lawyer is hoping the accused will be allowed serve out part of her sentence in her home country if it can be shown she is not a hardened criminal but merely someone “who got duped”.

The Monaghan-born woman’s lawyer Peter Madden said earlier this month that she could be back home in as little as two years if a guilty plea is entered.

He explained that was because of a new piece of legislation which applies to foreigners given around seven years in prison or less, which could result in the pair being given two-thirds remission.

The two have claimed they were forced to smuggle the drugs from Peru to Spain by a criminal gang.

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