Published Wednesday, 21 August 2013
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The Dungannon woman and Melissa Reid, from Glasgow, were led into court in handcuffs on Wednesday to attend a public hearing after they were charged with the promotion of drug trafficking.
Sitting before a senior judge and district prosecutor, the 20-year-olds were informed it would be unlikely they would be granted bail before their trial.
The women, who have already spent two weeks in custody, face a maximum of 15 years in prison if found guilty of trying to smuggle 11kg of cocaine, worth an estimated £1.5m.
They are protesting their innocence and claim they were forced to carry the drugs - concealed in food packages in their luggage - by an armed gang.
When asked by the judge why they did not take the opportunity to ask for help at Lima airport, they said they were threatened.
Following the hearing, the women were taken to jail to await their trial, which could take up to three years to begin.
They didn't know each other before all this started, they've now become best friends. In fact they are supporting each other.
Ms McCollum Connolly's lawyer Peter Madden said they were effectively beginning a prison sentence.
"Their main concern at the moment is, that they may be sent to different prisons or they may be separated," he said before the hearing.
Earlier the solicitor described conditions in the detention centre they were brought to after being charged as unacceptable, adding the holding cells the women were being kept in were unclean, with no blankets and only a mattress on the floor to sleep on.
"The conditions inside the holding cells are pretty grim," he said.
Ms McCollum Connolly's family had at first launched a major online missing person campaign from Dungannon after she had not been heard from for 12 days.
However, it later emerged that she had been detained at the airport in Lima while attempting to board a plane bound for Madrid.
© UTV News