A Netflix documentary about Tyrone drug smuggler Michaella McCollum should hopefully act as a “deterrent” against getting involved in drug smuggling, Newstalk’s Court Correspondent Frank Greaney has said.
Ms McCollum, now 29, shot to international fame when she and a friend were arrested trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru in 2013.
The pair were sentenced to six years and eight months each but Ms McCollum was released on parole in 2016.
A BBC documentary High: Confessions of an Ibiza Drug Mule has since been released worldwide on Netflix and, over the weekend, Ms McCollum posted a celebratory photo on her Instagram account - leading some to question whether the documentary was in good taste.
View this post on Instagram
“Is Michaele McCollum going to make a fortune out of this Netflix series on the back of a criminal offence?” Mr Greaney queried on Lunchtime Live.
“I don’t know if she’s getting paid anything for it… I know she’s spoken about the book that she wrote about her experience and she said that she didn’t make an awful lot of money from that.
“She has been on record saying that she has turned down big money TV opportunities in the past.”
In a trailer for the documentary series, Ms McCollum tells viewers that her time in prison was “really, really difficult” and said she had “lost a lot of years of my life due to drugs.” Adding, “I hope a lot of people will learn from that.”
Michaella McCollum, one of the 'Peru 2' who were jailed for drug smuggling, is to have a documentary about her journey appear on Netflix. Is this exploitive entertainment? Discussion live on air now on @TheHardShoulder pic.twitter.com/yHaCXgtufE
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 27, 2022
Ultimately, Mr Geary believes that any contrition displayed in the series should act as a “deterrent to others who might think that taking drugs across borders for a few grand is okay and not harming anybody - well look at the potential consequences.”
He added that the reality of crime is very far from glamorous and that generally “people get involved in criminality because they come from very impoverished communities where they feel they have no other choice.”
Main image: Michaella McCollum.