Published Thursday, 26 September 2013
Michaella McCollum Connolly from Dungannon and Melissa Reid from Scotland were arrested at a Lima airport in August after authorities found cocaine thought to be worth £1.5m inside their suitcases.
The 20-year-olds pleaded guilty to drugs offences behind closed doors before a judge at Sarita Colonia prison on Tuesday.
It was thought this would mean they would receive a lighter sentence - but prosecutors have told them they want a full confession.
Stefano Lucatello, a leading expert on South American law, said he thinks the women may now face the longer jail term.
He explained: "This has not been seen well by the prosecution and the Peruvian authorities and quite clearly, having been sceptical, they now want to analyse the situation and see what the situation is.
"I am sceptical, as a lawyer, as to whether they may actually get a reduced sentence.
"I think the authorities will say that the two girls knew exactly what they were doing and exactly what they were carrying and at all times they sought to hide this from the authorities and now seek a more lenient sentence."
McCollum and Reid had claimed they were held at gunpoint and threatened by a Columbian drugs gang to smuggle 24lb of cocaine, which was found hidden inside food packages in their luggage as they attempted to board a flight to Spain.
A judge was due to sentence the women on 1 October, but prosecutor Juan Rosas said he will ask for a new hearing to give the pair the chance to offer a more complete confession.
He explained: "If they stick to that unbelievable story the prosecution is not going to allow them the benefit of a guilty plea.
"The prosecution thinks the charges have not yet been completely embraced. They have simply accepted transporting drugs, but what has not yet been examined is their original version - that they were kidnapped or were transporting the drugs against their will."
The women, who had been working on Ibiza, were told that they could face a minimum of six years and eight months with no eligibility for parole after pleading.
But if their pleas are not accepted they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Mr Lucatello continued: "All I would say to them to co-operate with the authorities, to give the authorities as much information as they can as to the people they were instructed by to carry the drugs and to play very much into the hands of the authorities.
"I'm sure that behind the scenes there is a lot of diplomatic adulation, diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing, and it very much depends on what the authorities think.
"It may well very be that, for whatever reason, either the Irish authorities or the Scottish authorities don't wish them to come back to the UK or to southern Ireland to serve their sentences, but we may never know the reasons why such a decision has ever been taken."
© UTV News