Cassandra Sainsbury, the 22-year-old Australian arrested in Colombia with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine allegedly hidden within her baggage, has reportedly applied for a federal grant to assist with the mounting costs of her legal aid.

The Advertiser reports Sainsbury’s Colombia-based lawyer Orlando Herran as saying that she is “looking for state funds in Australia for the legal costs, so she was signing a form for that, to put before the government there.”

Herran said the funds are intended for her Australian-based legal assistance, which includes high-profile lawyer Stephen Kenny, who also represented accused terrorist David Hicks. 

A fundraising page intended to garner monetary support for Sainsbury’s representation was shuttered well before reaching its goal, after it was filled with a slew of negative comments aimed towards Sainsbury.

The Attorney-General’s Department offers the grant scheme to Australians facing overseas prison sentences of over 20 years, and to those facing the death penalty. If found guilty of trafficking, Sainsbury could spend as long as 25 years behind bars. 

For what it’s worth, the same scheme has been used in other drug-related incidents. Executed Bali Nine members Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan received funding through the grant, as did Schappelle Corby. 

There are some caveats to the scheme. The Attorney-General’s Department notes those “eligible for legal [state provided] assistance in the overseas country” won’t generally receive a grant. Herran indicated he’d “possibly” be reimbursed for his services through the scheme. 

Sainsbury remains behind bars in a minimum-security wing of the El Buen Pastor women’s prison.

Source: The Advertiser / The Attorney-General’s Department.
Photo: Scott Broadbridge / Facebook.