Nick Pisa and Ian McPhedran - 18jan06
AN Australian nurse held in Italy on drug smuggling charges is expected to face court next month, her lawyer has revealed.
Carly Emma Morris, 26, from Port Elliot near Adelaide, was held by Customs officials after they allegedly caught her with 3.2kg of heroin as she crossed into the country from Switzerland.
She now faces 20 years in jail and her only option for a lighter sentence is to plead guilty in a plea bargain that could see her serve between three and five years.
Ms Morris has changed lawyers three times since she was arrested in October at Como in northern Italy after crossing the border by train.
Each lawyer has provided the same advice.
The only visitors she has had since have been lawyers and Australian consular officials.
Her mother is expected to arrive next month as the trial begins.
Her lawyer Daria Pesce said: "I have just taken up this case but I have been to see Carly in prison.
"She is very frightened and scared at the prospect of going to trial.
"Her only option is to plea bargain so that we can get her a reduced sentence. I expect the case to be heard next month and I think it will be over very quickly.
"She is lonely in prison but I understand that her mother is coming from Australia next month to see her."
The Herald Sun has also seen a copy of Miss Morris's statement in which she says she had no idea her suitcase was full of heroin.
The drugs were allegedly found inside a false bottom after sniffer dogs alerted authorities.
"I had been in Europe for three months and had been to England, Germany and Holland where my boyfriend works," her statement says.
"Three days before I was arrested I decided to go to Italy as it was a country I had never been to.
"But as my suitcase was broken a friend of my boyfriend gave me one and that was the one that was seized.
"He had told me to go to Milan where he had friends but he didn't give me any names of telephone numbers.
"He just said that when I got to Milan I should call him and he would tell me where to go."
She is in a Como jail awaiting her trial.