Monday, April 12, 2010

Adding insult to injury

I was amazed when I read that the arch-troughers of Labour had applied for (and got) legal aid to fight their case.

Three former Labour MPs facing criminal charges over their expenses have won the right to have their legal fees paid for by the taxpayer.
An HM Courts Service spokesman confirmed David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine will receive legal aid.
Conservative peer Lord Hanningfield, who is also facing charges, has not made an application for legal aid, the court official added.
All four deny the allegations and say they will defend themselves "robustly".
Conservative leader David Cameron said granting legal aid to the MPs was a "complete outrage" and promised to review the system.
BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that officials applied the "interests of justice" test to determine whether the MPs should receive legal aid.
The test says that if a defendant is at risk of losing his or her liberty - that is, they could go to prison if convicted - then they are entitled to legal representation paid for by the state.
The "interests of justice" test began to be phased out in January and replaced by a means test for all Crown Court cases in England and Wales - but Southwark Crown Court is not yet part of the new scheme, so it did not apply to the MPs.
So, not only are they accused of stealing from us, they are also continuing the troughing  by grabbing the publics money to defend themselves. I also see that they are not using "cheap" barristers either, they've engaged Edward Fitzgerald QC of Doughty Street Chambers will represent them in court and trust me, this guy does not come cheap, so we're getting stiffed that way too.
Yes there is a possibility of the judge making them pay back some of the costs, however I've a sneaking feeling that the political establishment will look after its own, just in case it ever happens to them. This plus a top barrister to get them off on a possible parliamentary privilege technicality, means we'll have been robbed blind twice, after all if they are found not guilty (though certainly not untainted) they don't get to pay back a penny, unlike motorists with their costs.

Perhaps amazed wasn't the right word, now that I've given it some thought it's changed to outraged fury.

2 annotations:

James Higham said...

They got legal aid? That's just taking the p---.

Anonymous said...

Well, I mean, they are never going to be found guilty. No one has ever thought for a second that they would be banged up, did they?

They are the fall guys... others did much worse... and they will be found innocent and probably awarded damages for the harm it has done their earning potential, erm sorry I meant reputations.

Then they will be able to leave court with their heads held high and start consultancies or lobbying things, except of course Jim Devine, who will go down the pub. Obviously.