Published Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Peter Madden is representing Michaella McCollum, 20, who is being held on drug trafficking charges - alongside 20-year-old Scottish woman Melissa Reid - in a Peruvian jail.
Mr Madden, from Madden and Finucane Solicitors, says that Michaella is confident that it will be proved she was coerced.
But he added that the both of the young women are scared and confused as to whether they should plead guilty or protest their innocence at trial.
They continue to be held in Lima's Virgen de Fatima jail, which houses some of Peru's most dangerous criminals, and will have to decide within weeks what pleas to enter.
Mr Madden said: "They are basically confident enough that what they have told the authorities will be eventually proved.
"The Peruvian system is still that they are innocent until proven guilty, but in reality they have to try to prove that what they said happened to them did happen."
They are frightened. They are unsure of their future. They are in a prison in which they are the only two foreigners.
Peter Madden, solicitor
Mr Madden, an experienced solicitor who has acted for high-profile republicans, has just returned from South America.
Conditions in the prison are harsh, but the lawyer said that both women have been well treated.
A total of 24lb (11kg) of cocaine, with an estimated street value of £1.5m, was found hidden in food packets in their luggage while they tried to board a flight to Spain earlier this month.
Mr Madden said that, under new laws soon to take effect in Peru, they could be released after two years if they accept responsibility for their crime.
He added: "The position is that at some stage there will have to be a decision made by Michaella and Melissa as to whether or not, in our terms, they plead guilty or plead not guilty and go to trial.
"That stage hasn't been reached yet."
The two women were remanded in custody after appearing before a judge last week.
Both women maintain that they knew the drugs were in their bags - but that a gang forced them at gunpoint to carry the cocaine.
© UTV News