Should David Bain and his mate Joe Karam pay back their legal aid?

Jock Anderson seems to think so:

Following CaseLoad’s controversial and commonsense analysis of the David Cullen Bain Compo Affair last time, numerous callers at the Ladies & Escorts Lounge have raised some interesting questions.

Some ask if Mr Bain or his supporter Joe Karam have repaid any of the $3.33 million in taxpayer-funded legal aid coughed up for Mr Bain’s 2009 “Not Guilty” retrial – the highest amount in New Zealand legal history. (If they have, good on them.)

And whether or not, in the event Mr Bain gets millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded compensation from the Government, should his legal aid be deducted first???

It was earlier reported that of the $3.33 million, $2.33 million went towards the retrial costs and almost $1 million was paid for expenses in the retrial such as research, investigators and forensics.

$426,000 was paid for Mr Karam’s efforts.

Lawyers’ fees throughout the High Court, Court of Appeal and retrial process amounted to $1.77 million of the total bill.

Most of the costs of the retrial were to pay for overseas experts, according to Mr Bain’s lawyer Michael Privet Reed QC.

Mr Bain did not receive legal aid in his compo bid.

Outrageous sums of money.

Which raises a jolly interesting question in terms of legal aid repayments – namely, should those fortunate to be aided in their defence by the taxpayer be obliged or compelled to do what they can to repay the money???

The Justice Ministry says people who get legal aid may have to repay part or all of their legal aid costs.

Those who can are expected to.

Interest of 8 per cent is charged six months after a case is finalised.

The Ministry says some or all legal aid may have to be repaid, depending on how much a recipient earns, what property they own and whether they have received any money or property as a result of their case. [CaseLoad’s emphasis.]

“It’s clear to me,” said The Scunner. “If Team Bain get any compo then some folk will say they are morally obliged to make a substantial legal aid repayment…”

“There’s also no doubt in my mind that the amount of legal aid some taxpayers expect Team Bain to repay is something Justice Minister Amy Adams and Government Purse-String Minder Bill English will have at the forefront of their minds as they ponder this difficult and sensitive question,” said Our Man At The Bar, disturbed that the bar tab would not accept his Super Gold Card.

I should think they should be deducting the amount before any payment is made…do you trust either of them to pay the taxpayer back?



– NZ Herald