All the holes in Cassie Sainsbury's story
AUSTRALIA'S highest profile foreign prisoner Cassie Sainsbury did herself no favours when she botched her chance to definitively share her side of the story that's seen her locked up in a Bogota prison with the possibility of a 20-year sentence hanging over her head.
During her interview on 60 Minutes, the 22-year-old accused drug mule appeared oddly nonchalant as she casually addressed interviewer Liam Bartlett's questions with some bizarre answers that he said were "full of porky pies".
Sainsbury shrugged off assertions her explanations were implausible, and rejected claims made by others about her past.
"Obviously a lot of people have had digs at me while I'm in prison, because I can't defend myself," she said.
But given the chance to set her story straight, Sainsbury failed miserably.
She's changed her story more times than she's switched money-making schemes, and her current version of the story is riddled with holes.
These are Cassie's claims that just don't make sense.
SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS TAKING A COURIER JOB
When she was first caught smuggling 5.8kg of cocaine out of Colombia, wrapped in headphones, Sainsbury's explanation was that she became caught up in the illegal drug trade after applying for a loan through website Craigslist.
Now she says it was a job offer as a legitimate international courier that led the South Australian girl to carry the drugs after travelling to Bogota via complicated and constantly changing itinerary.
Sainsbury told 60 Minutes she was offered $10,000 to transport what she thought was "documents" from Colombia.
When asked if at some point, did she think the large sum of money for such a simple, low-risk, non-criminal job - particularly in the age of easily accessible international delivery services - was too good to be true, she replied: "Yes, but I suppose it was at the point where I needed the money. So I thought, yeah, I'll do it."
She admitted at one point she thought the job could be "a bit suss", but insisted she took the risk believing she wasn't doing anything criminal.
She said it wasn't until she arrived in Bogota after her flights had been changed by a person who "could be fake", that she decided she didn't want to take part.
"I said I don't want any part in this, I didn't come here to do anything illegal," she said.
That's when, she claims, the threats started.
SHE KEPT THE THREATS A SECRET
Sainsbury claims that when she started looking for ways home, she received a "very nasty phone call" telling her if she didn't go through with the job, which she still thought was a simple delivery mission, that her mum, sister and partner would be killed.
She said she was sent surveillance photos of her family in Adelaide. She received a picture of her fiance Scott leaving the gym, her sister picking up her child, and her mother getting out of her car as picture messages through messaging app WhatsApp.
But even when she was caught, offered legal representation and hauled before a court, she kept the alleged threats to herself.
She even, for a period, failed to tell her family about the threats.
She claimed she understood the "mastermind" of the operation, a faceless figure known only as "Angelo", had "people working for him everywhere".
Because of this, she said, her reason for failing to mention the threats in the early stages of her case "comes back to the fact that I didn't know who I could trust".
There is another significant issue with Sainsbury's claims of these threats.
There's not a scrap of evidence to prove them.
SHE CAN'T REMEMBER HER PHONE PASSCODE
Sainsbury claims evidence exists, she just can't get to it.
She told 60 Minutes the pictures and threatening messages were sent to her via WhatsApp, on her mobile phone.
The problem? She can't remember the passcode.
"I've been trying to remember it," she said.
Interviewer Lim Bartlett pointed out the absurdity of her claim she couldn't crack the code to get into her phone, particularly considering the value of the evidence she claimed it contained.
"I don't know another millennial who has forgotten their password," he said.
"I'm sure if you were in prison for five months you would forget it," she replied.
"Pretty much, if I knew the password, and I've told my lawyer, I'd give it. But that's all there is. If I don't have the password, I have nothing to give them."
The interview failed to cover exactly when Sainsbury had decided she'd forgotten her phone. Viewers weren't told whether she or her legal team had access to the phone and the messages inside it after her arrest, or what attempts had been made to retrieve the passcode.
Although the current defence hangs on proof that Sainsbury was threatened, she claimed without that evidence "there is still a defence".
SHE WAS A FIFO SECRETARY
Since Sainsbury's arrest, family members, friends, and figures from her past have provided conflicting accounts of exactly who Cassie Sainsbury is.
Up there with the most controversial claims is that she had been employed as a sex worker at a western Sydney brothel called Club 22.
During the interview Sainsbury denied these allegations, and explained that she had been employed by Club 22 - where she worked on a fly-in fly-out basis from her Adelaide home- but did not engage in prostitution.
"I did some work there, but I wasn't a prostitute," she said.
Despite multiple sources confirming to Nine Sainsbury had worked as a sex worker, she claims she was merely flown to Sydney to work at the club as a receptionist.
"I think because they were struggling to have receptionists, they were struggling a lot with that sort of thing," she exclaimed.
"I know it's a brothel, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm a prostitute."
SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHO WAS IN CHARGE
Significantly, Sainsbury said she couldn't say too much about her employment at the club, and "everything that happened before", because it was linked to her case.
When pressed on this comment, she confessed to her interrogator that she was roped into the drug trafficking job by someone she "sort of knew".
She wouldn't confirm if that person was someone from the brothel. "I'm not saying that. I haven't said that."
Earlier, Sainsbury said she didn't know who was in charge of the operation that landed her in jail.
She said there was a name on the plane ticket she had been sent identifying the person who had paid for it, but said she didn't know if that was the person's real identity.
"I don't know if the person's real," she said.
"There's a name on the itinerary, but I don't know if it's real. It could be fake."
Sainsbury said she had only been in touch with one man, over WhatsApp, whose first name was Angelo.
She claimed she understood him to be the "ringleader" of the operation and said she only met him once.
"He was very vague on details," she said.
EVEN SHE KNOWS HER STORY IS UNBELIEVABLE
During the interview, Sainsbury was oddly nonchalant. She appeared relaxed and cheery, and at a few points she even giggled. The only sign of her becoming flustered was a creeping red rush that rose from her chest up to her neck, and became more apparent as the interrogation wore on.
Body language expert Michael Kelly said the rash was most likely due to "nervousness and anxiety".
Mr Kelly said Sainsbury kept trying to distract Bartlett, by touching her hair, her throat and the back of her neck.
"That's distracting behaviour. My read is that she's trying to distract from the truth," he told news.com.au
"She puts her chin up, almost in defiance towards the interviewer. Also her eyes are narrowed, because she's trying to stop them from giving away her emotions," Mr Kelly said.
"Her voice is rapid at the start. Often when we're not telling the truth we speak too fast or too slow."
The interview has been described as farcical, and multiple commentators have suggested it showed she is "not very bright".
She made a confused apology, first saying she wanted people to know how hard it had been to her, and then indicating the apology was more about her image than wrongdoing.
"I'm apologising because I didn't mean to cause any disrespect to anyone. I didn't willingly want to commit a crime," she said.
"But for me, I need to apologise because I don't want to come across that I'm OK with what's happening here, because I'm not OK with it."
Of her legal strategy she said "I don't even know what it is", but insisted that even though the court has been told there's no proof she was threatened "doesn't mean there is no proof to be found".
Although she seemed to have an answer to all the discrepancies in her story, each with varying degrees of credibility, even Sainsbury herself admitted her story was beyond belief.
"I understand why it comes across as, she's making up a story to protect herself," she said.
"I think for me, until people know completely what happened, they shouldn't be forming opinions.
"If you're not in the situation and you don't know what's happening, have an opinion but don't put it out there if you don't know it's right."
Sainsbury is facing up to 30 years in jail after a Colombian judge ordered her to stand trial for allegedly smuggling the haul of cocaine out of the South American country.
No date has been set for her trial.