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A whole lot of justice

By johnboy - 7 July 2010 14

The Canberra Times brings word of the vast fortune spent by ACT Legal Aid to ensure Stephen Hillier could seek justice to the High Court and back.

The ACT Legal Aid Commission says it is legally prevented from revealing the full amount of public money that has been spent defending Mr Hillier in his trials and appeals since 2002, but legal sources close to the case believe the total bill to exceed $1 million.

The massive bill for this year’s retrial blew the budget of the cash-strapped Legal Aid Commission and forced the service to seek an emergency bail-out from the ACT Government.

The Legislative Assembly voted last month for $319,000 from the Treasurer’s advance fund to be given to Legal Aid to cover the cost of Mr Hillier’s defence.

If only we could fund the prosecutor as lavishly.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
A whole lot of justice
colourful sydney rac 12:44 pm 08 Jul 10

farq said :

fgzk said :

The innocent get their legal costs paid.

Really?

I always thought that in a criminal case, there has to be very special circumstances in order to have the government pay your legal fees.

The one that gets me is that for less serious charges, often it makes more sense to plead guilty and pay a fine than hire a lawyer to defend you, as is your right.

That is why the ‘justice system’ is really only effective against the middle class. It’s the combination of having enough to lose, but not having the resources to mount the best possible defence.

amen

farq 12:34 pm 08 Jul 10

fgzk said :

The innocent get their legal costs paid.

Really?

I always thought that in a criminal case, there has to be very special circumstances in order to have the government pay your legal fees.

The one that gets me is that for less serious charges, often it makes more sense to plead guilty and pay a fine than hire a lawyer to defend you, as is your right.

That is why the ‘justice system’ is really only effective against the middle class. It’s the combination of having enough to lose, but not having the resources to mount the best possible defence.

fgzk 12:04 pm 08 Jul 10

Sorry colourful I was just sharing the knowledge gained from the Random drug testing thread.

colourful sydney rac 11:46 am 08 Jul 10

fgzk said :

If you don’t break the law you have nothing to fear.

Thank you for your enlightening, inteeligent, well thought out comments.

I had forgotten that the justice system is perfect and that there has never been a miscarriage of justice and that no innocent person has ever been convicted of a crime they did not commit.

fgzk 11:34 am 08 Jul 10

What are you implying Justin, that some one is overcharging.

justin heywood 11:18 am 08 Jul 10

fgzk said :

The real problem is not everyone can get Mr Pappas.

No, the real problem is that it can cost more than $1 million to get a decision.

fgzk 10:06 am 08 Jul 10

“We have a real problem – justice for all, that can afford it.”

Stop your middle class whining. If you don’t break the law you have nothing to fear. You can mortgage the house, sell your cars, take the kids out of private school. Only the guilty criminals lose it all. The innocent get their legal costs paid.

The real problem is not everyone can get Mr Pappas.

colourful sydney rac 8:51 am 08 Jul 10

sepi said :

Does this mean if he had had a job, he would have had to shell out 300 thousand on lawyers for himself?

A lot of people could not afford that.

And therein lies the problem. If I had been in a simlar situation I would not be eligible for legal aid as my income would be too high. I also would not be able to fund a legal challenge to the extent that was funded for the defendant in this case.

We have a real problem – justice for all, that can afford it.

cleo 1:28 am 08 Jul 10

I’m with TAD

sepi 8:55 pm 07 Jul 10

Does this mean if he had had a job, he would have had to shell out 300 thousand on lawyers for himself?

A lot of people could not afford that.

pug206gti 5:38 pm 07 Jul 10

I think today’s CT front page had a subeditor sponsored by the Liberal party, or the NSW ALP right…all stories lacking substance but plenty of panic.

And Legal Aid should have spent whatever it cost on defending his legal rights and getting him a fair trial. The day you get accused (falsely or otherwise) of a crime is the day you’ll want to be sure you can get as much assistance as possible.

Justice costs, but is worth it.

colourful sydney rac 1:21 pm 07 Jul 10

This is a really tricky one.

It is an obsene amount of money, particularly for an organisation such as Legal Aid, however, aided by this funding Hillier has been found not guilty.

If he had not received legal aid, would there have been a different verdict? What does that say abuot our legal system?

farq 12:21 pm 07 Jul 10

$320,000 sounds cheap.

In our ‘justice system’ I am no longer supprised at the cost of defending yourself.

TAD 11:44 am 07 Jul 10

But think of all the saved imprisonment costs…….

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