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Aussie taxpayers pick up Cassie Sainsbury’s eye-watering legal bill

Her lawyer, Orlando Herran, said the money was deserved.
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Australian taxpayers have picked up the bill for Cassandra Sainsbury’s eye-watering legal defence, according to Seven News.

On Thursday, the 22-year-old was sentenced to six years’ behind bars under a plea deal and was ordered to pay a fine of $130,000. She was initially looking at 20-30 years in prison.

The Adelaide woman will be responsible for covering the fine, however Seven News has revealed taxpayers will foot the bill for five months’ worth of legal assistance totalling more than $100,000.

The Australian Federal Government does offer some financial support to Australians facing serious charges overseas, more than 20 years’ jail time or the death penalty.

Cassie’s lawyer, Orlando Herran, described the convicted drug smuggler as a “victim.”

“These people (like Cassie) are just victim of bigger criminals,” Cassie’s legal team said.

“This plea bargain was given to her as a result that she was under threat to proceed with what she did.”

Cassie was discovered with nearly six kilograms of cocaine packed into her suitcase as she tried to fly home to Australia on April 11 from El Dorado International Airport.

She agreed to reveal the identities of others in the drug ring to receive a lighter sentence.

Cassie’s sister, Khala Sainsbury, recently told News Corp that she now fears reprisal attacks.

“She [Cassie] got told to be quiet otherwise they’d come after her family,” she said.

“My ultimate fear is bringing her home in a body bag.”

“I’m worried about my little sister. I never thought anything like this would happen in a million years.”

“I love her. I’ll always love her – she’s my sister.”

WATCH: Cassie shares her side of the story on 60 Minutes. Post continues…

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Kahla also said the ordeal may have permanently sullied her sister’s reputation.

“It’s going to be hard for her to do anything,” Khala told Seven News.

“She’s always going to be labelled as ‘Cocaine Cassie’.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Sainsbury’s case should serve as another warning to Australians travelling overseas.

“People need to abide by the laws of that country. If not, they will face serious consequences,” he told Seven.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) contacted Colombian authorities after her plane ticket home to Australia via London was purchased last minute by an “unknown party” in Hong Kong.

Cassie could be out of prison in as little as two-and-a-half years if she gets time for good behaviour.

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