The attorney of the Irish woman held on drug smuggling charges in Peru has said she will deny the charges brought against her when she appears in court.

Lawyer Peter Madden told reporters that Michaella McCollum Connolly, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

The 20-year-old Irish woman and her co-accused, Melissa Reid (19) from Lenzie near Glasgow, claim they were forced at gunpoint to carry $2.2 million of cocaine that was found in their luggage when they tried to board a flight from Lima to Madrid last week.

Their first court appearance is expected on Friday. They have been held in an anti-drugs police unit since their arrest on August 6th.

The two young women claim they were held captive in Spain for a number of days before they were forced to travel to Peru against their will. They have said they were offered no money to transport the class A drug.

Speaking at Belfast CIty Airport before his trip to Peru, Madden said the young woman was doing well in police custody, adding it is a difficult position for a “young girl” to be in.

“It is a question of considering what the state prosecutor is proposing to do,” he said.

“If she is charged, there will be a trial so it could take a while,” he said

“I got the impression she is bearing up fairly well over the circumstances.”