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Neil Mitchell says Cassie Sainsbury should receive government assistance for legal fees

Neil Mitchell

Accused Colombian drug mule Cassie Sainsbury has applied for taxpayer-funded legal aid to help cover the cost of her legal fees.

And Neil Mitchell says she should get it.

Ms Sainsbury is accused of trying to smuggle more than $1 million worth of cocaine out of Bogata.

Neil Mitchell says he’s studied the legislation surrounding government aid and Ms Sainsbury met all the required criteria.

‘She’s entitled to a decent defence and she’s entitled to be considered innocent,’ the 3AW Mornings host said.

‘She’s an Australian. She’s in trouble.

‘Guilty, or innocent, she needs help and I think we’ve got to take responsible to help Australians in trouble.’

Former diplomat Richard Broinowski said the decision was ultimately at the discretion of the Attorney-General.

‘It’s up to the consulate people; they have to decide what her circumstances are?they’d have to know how much would be involved, how much money would be put forward, would there be an appeal, would this be an endless trial with endless money?’ he said on 3AW Mornings.

Mr Broinowski said the consulate needed to determine whether it was likely she would receive a fair trial under the Colombian judicial system.

‘I really think we have to keep an open mind and find out more about the circumstances of this young woman, why she was in Colombia in the first place and what her motives are,’ he said.

‘We certainly don’t want to leave people in the lurch where they’re in a country which has perhaps questionable judicial authority and integrity.’

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Neil Mitchell