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Legal aid for Aussies abroad tightened

Newly introduced laws will make it harder for Aussies abroad to access taxpayer funded legal aid.


The rules were amended after an Australian pedophile received $500,00 to fund his defence against allegations of sexual assault and human trafficking in the Philippines, AAP reported.



Under the new law, only Australians facing the death penalty overseas will be able to access the scheme, which will be renamed Scheme for Overseas Criminal Matters involving the Death Penalty (previously Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme).


Criminal history and circumstances will also be considered before a final decision is made into their entitlements.


According to AAP, pedophile Peter Scully was able to apply for public funding as it was open to anyone facing a potential sentence of at least 20 years or the death penalty.   


"I was concerned that, over time, the scheme had failed to meet community standards and expectations, and the funding provided to Peter Scully highlighted recently, was a clear demonstration of that," Australian Attorney General Christian Porter said.


“I won't let the decisions be made at a bureaucratic level, but lift them up to the level of my office for my personal attention.”


Scully was found guilty of one count of human trafficking and five counts of rape last month, and faces further charges in 50 other cases.


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 2 July 2018

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