Page last updated at 02:24 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 03:24 UK

Rio accused 'to admit to fraud'

Shanti Andrews (left) and Rebecca Turner
The women were pictured coming out of the Tourist Police office on 27 July

Two British law graduates accused of attempted insurance fraud in Brazil are expected to plead guilty, their lawyer has said.

Shanti Andrews and Rebecca Turner, both 23, appeared in court in Rio de Janeiro for a brief hearing on Wednesday.

Miss Andrews, from Sussex, and Miss Turner, of Berkshire, are on bail until their trial, scheduled for 17 August.

Their lawyer, Renato Tonini, said all evidence against them would be heard before they were asked to enter a plea.

Mr Tonini said he thought that despite a guilty plea, it was unlikely the pair would be given jail terms.

The pair claim they were robbed but the police allegedly uncovered some of the items reported stolen in their Rio hostel room.

They were freed on bail on Saturday ahead of the court appearance.

Surrendered passports

On the hearing on Wednesday, Mr Tonini said: "They didn't plead guilty, they just had the charge read out to them in English.

"They will plead guilty. Their guilty pleas will be said at the end of the trial."

There are a number of punishment options open to the court, apart from jailing Miss Andrews and Miss Turner, he said.

 Rebecca Turner and Shanti Andrews
Brazilian police released this picture of the women in fancy dress

"It could be a fine, it could be social service in England, social service in Brazil, there are a lot of possibilities," he added.

Miss Turner, from Woolton Hill near Newbury, and Miss Andrews of Frant near Tunbridge Wells, were due to return to England last week after a nine-month trip around the world.

Mr Tonini said the women had voluntarily surrendered their passports to the Brazilian authorities to show they had no intention of fleeing.

The pair are alleged to have told police belongings worth £1,000 had been stolen during a bus journey.

They were arrested on 27 July after officers from a specialist tourist support unit apparently became suspicious that they had waited several days before reporting the theft.



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