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What Cassie Sainsbury's family should have done instead of speaking to the media.

There are so many stories about Cassie Sainsbury, and her family has done nothing but flame them.

She was going to London. She was getting married. Her boyfriend was involved. He wasn’t involved. She was a sex worker in Sydney last year. She was an unaware drug mule. She was threatened and forced to carry the 5.8 kilograms of cocaine that have landed her in a prison in Colombia facing charges of drug trafficking.

How do we hear all these stories? Because Cassie’s family has spoken to media – last night was a smorgasbord of speculation about Cassie.

Her mother and her sister spoke to Channel Nine. Her fiancé, father and uncle spoke to Channel Seven. There were claims she was “100 per cent innocent” and also claims that she was “fully aware of what she was doing”.

There are also reports Cassie pleaded with her family and the news stations not to run these stories – that she didn’t give her permission for the packages to be broadcast to air.

Cassie Sainsbury. Image via Social
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Now, an expert has spoken about what Cassie's family should have done to help the 22-year-old stuck in a Bogota prison.

"Normally in Australia you say to your client, 'Say nothing. And don't be talking to the media because you don't want to run the risk of this sort of problem happening'," Greg Barnes, a representative of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, told The Project.

He said the most important thing is what Cassie has said to Colombian authorities, not what her family is saying back in Australia.

"Cassie made a statement to Colombian authorities and I think the Australian Federal Police had some involvement in that," Barnes said. "It's a matter for the courts to assess what they make of any other statements she may have made herself, or family members may have made to the media. But what is important is her word."

"Really, public opinion should have nothing to do with it. We have a media circus now and we don't have in Australia the sort of privacy protections you have in the UK and Canada where the sorts of publications you saw last night on television probably couldn't have gone to air in those jurisdictions."

Why are we so obsessed with Cassie Sainsbury's story?

Barnes said if reports are true that Cassie has changed her story - that she's pleading guilty and claiming she was acting under duress - this might work to reduce her sentence.

"Normally speaking if a person has been acting under duress then that's a relevant factor and in international drug syndicates it's not uncommon for those who are seen as drug mules to be acting in that way," Barnes said.

Initially, Cassie pleaded not guilty to the charge of drug trafficking, claiming she thought the packages in her luggage contained headphones.

If found guilty on this charge, she faces up to 25 years in prison.

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