Our $500,000 bill for accused pedophile Peter Scully
Pensioners and the self-funded will like this waste.
Australian taxpayers have paid about $500,000 in legal costs for alleged pedophile Peter Scully who is on trial in The Philippines, accused of child murder, human trafficking, rape and torture. The Australian can reveal that Scully has received taxpayer-funded legal support for the past three years under the Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme.
Source: News Corp
Attorney-General Christian Porter, who said the approval of Scully’s legal funding was made under his predecessor George Brandis, has launched a review of access to the scheme. “There are circumstances where such support is absolutely appropriate,” Mr Porter said.
“However, determinations in this case were made prior to my becoming Attorney-General.
“I had already asked my department for information on the scheme, including this particular case, with a view to considering changes to the scheme, so that persons in circumstances similar to Mr Scully, or those with histories of sexual offending and relevant convictions, would no longer be eligible.”
The Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme provides legal support for Australians facing the death penalty or jail terms of more than 20 years.
More than $1.1 million was paid out under the scheme in 2016-17 to an undisclosed number of Australians facing charges overseas.
The Australian understands Scully, a former Melbourne businessman who fled Australia in 2011 to escape fraud charges, has been receiving taxpayer funds under the scheme since his arrest in 2015.
The decision on which applicants are able to access the fund is made by Attorney-General’s Department officials, according to criteria set out in the scheme.
Philippines police allege Scully was a cyberporn producer who sold videos of depraved acts on the “dark web” for $10,000 each. He is contesting 75 charges, forcing his victims to undergo the ordeal of testifying against him in court.
Past recipients of money from the scheme include Schapelle Corby, convicted terror supporter David Hicks and cocaine smuggler Cassie Sainsbury. Bali Nine drug runners Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan also received money from the scheme, before their execution by Indonesian authorities.
Scully is alleged to have sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl before strangling her and burying her body in a grave under a house he was renting in the southern Philippines city of Surigao.
Police and prosecutors wept, according to a Fairfax report, when they viewed one video called Daisy’s Destruction that Scully allegedly sold on the internet showing an 18-month-old girl being sexually assaulted while being tied upside down by the legs. The girl was later found alive but suffers lasting physical and mental injuries.
Two teenage girls were allegedly found naked and chained in an another apartment he rented.
Eight girl victims up to the age of 13 at the time of the offences were reportedly being held in witness protection.
Scully faces multiple life terms of imprisonment but has avoided the death penalty, which was recently reintroduced by The Philippines government but only for serious drugs offences.
Scully, who has been declared bankrupt twice, fled to The Philippines in 2011 as the Victorian consumer watchdog pursued him in the Supreme Court for unconscionable conduct relating to a dodgy homebuyer scheme.
Under the program designed by Scully, low-income earners who could not usually qualify for a home loan paid above-market rent for a home owned by an investor, with the expectation that they would acquire the title after five years. The Key Result scheme went into liquidation in 2005 owing $2.6m.
Scully’s former lawyer, Alejandra Jose Pallugna, reportedly said his client treated jail like a holiday and demanded a mobile phone and fresh beef, pork and chicken.
The Philippines has long attracted child-sex offenders, with its widespread poverty giving offenders easy access to vulnerable children. Now, it is at the centre of a booming cybersex industry, aided by mobile video technology and growing broadband access.