Clearly, for the last 31 years I have completely misunderstood the Legal Aid system. I was under the impression that it provided financial assistance to those charged with offences in the court who couldn’t afford to defend themselves.
I had no idea it was so defendants who earn three times the national average wage as a minimum, plus who get a substantial expenses package which allows them to have a free house, courtesy of the taxpayer & earn all the profits on that house, and all sorts of other little wheezes by which they get extra cash.
MPs Elloit Morley, David Chaytor & Jim Devine have just been granted legal aid to defend themselves over charges that they ripped off the public with false mortgage, rent & expence claims. If you thought the bottom of the barrel had been well & truly scraped when their ‘nosein the trough’ scandal broke last year, think again. These paragons of parliamentary advantage are currently trying to weedle out of any prosecution at all, claiming the right of Parliamentary Privilege fromÃ‚Â sixteen hundred & dumpdy-doo, but shold they fail to avoid prosecution it will be you & me footing the bill. So we paid for their greed in the first place, they got caught out & we have to pay all over again so they can defend themselves.
Some estimates areputting the potential trial costs at some Ã‚Â£3 million.
It really just confirms that the very laudible aims of the Legal Aid system is open to abuse from both ends of the scale, while thousands of people with genuine claim to financial assistance to support their legal cases have to go & whistle.