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Bemusement at how legal aid is assessed

Published 07/12/2015

I note from your newspaper that Lord Morrow supports the Legal Services Agency clawing back legal aid monies paid in respect of the murder trial of Jimmy Seales, who is serving a prison sentence for the brutal murder of Philip Strickland.

I endorse such action. Given the amount of money involved and in view of the reported assets of the convicted, I am amazed legal aid was granted.

I also recall the trial of Hazel Stewart, who was convicted of what must rank as one of the most horrible murders ever perpetrated in Northern Ireland.

The jury unanimously convicted her and yet she continues to apply to have her case revisited, hence more legal aid costs.

I cannot help but wonder about the criteria used to assess granting legal aid. Given the state of the health service it begs the question: how do such people obtain legal aid and at what point are the assets of the convicted called into the assessment?

Perhaps some of your more qualified readers could tell me. It is, in my opinion, long past the time when there ought to be more accountability on the part of the wrongdoer/criminal.

I await an answer.

GEORGE FD YOUNG

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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