Graduates refused bail over Brazil allegations

Two British law graduates were "anxious and concerned" after being denied bail in Brazil over allegations they fraudulently claimed they had been robbed, their lawyer said today.



Shanti Andrews and Rebecca Turner, both 23, are being held in the tough Polinter prison south of Rio de Janeiro charged with attempted insurance fraud.

The pair, who both studied at the University of Sussex, told police in the Brazilian city that belongings totalling £1,000 had been stolen during a bus journey.

The pair were taken into custody at dawn on Monday after officers from a specialist tourist support unit apparently became suspicious that they had waited several days before reporting to police.

The website of the civil police of the state of Rio de Janeiro said the pair had tried to register a robbery of baggage and documents, alleging they had been attacked.

A subsequent search of their lodgings in Copacabana allegedly uncovered some of the belongings that they had originally told officers had been stolen.

Speaking from Rio de Janeiro today, their lawyer Renato Tonini said he was appealing against the judge's decision to refuse them bail.

He also said he was told by the judge that a decision would be made in up to four weeks' time on whether the charge they face has any merit.

Mr Tonini said: "We asked for their freedom on bail and the judge denied this on the grounds they were foreigners. We are appealing against this. In a worse-case situation, we will hear an answer to bail in a week's time."

The lawyer described the two women as being "anxious" and said: "They are very nervous and very concerned about their situation, and anxious too.

"They are in a tough prison but they are being treated well by both other prisoners and by the administration. They are being treated as if they were Brazilian.

"The general situation of our jails in Brazil is very, very bad, so the jail they are in is overcrowded, they have no beds to sleep in, they are sleeping on the floor and they don't have mattresses.

"They are simply sleeping on the floor with blankets, but we are fighting for their freedom right now. No plea has been entered to the charges yet.

"When I saw the judge yesterday, he told me that he will act very quickly and that in three to four weeks' time there will be a decision on the merit of the charges. The decision on bail will be decided first."

The charge faced by the two women carries a maximum prison sentence of more than three years, according to Mr Tonini, but that punishment, if found guilty, could also be meted out in the form of a fine or unpaid service.

Mr Tonini said he was "confident" that the women will be dealt with fairly by the Brazilian justice system following concerns voiced by Simone Headley, the mother of Miss Andrews, over their treatment.

"I think they will be treated fairly. Even though they are foreigners they will be treated in the same way as a Brazilian would facing the same charges," said Mr Tonini.

Ms Headley told earlier this week how the two friends were traumatised by their ordeal and that it had been a "misunderstanding" at the end of their nine-month journey around the world.

"We hope the Brazilian justice system will see it as a misunderstanding and the girls will be able to come home safely," said Ms Headley, who lives in Frant, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Ms Headley was unavailable to comment today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower