West Australian Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis says that Legal Aid’s mandate is to “help people have a fair legal hearing” which they “wouldn’t have otherwise got,” a report from ABC
“For someone who pleaded guilty, I think Legal Aid need to go and have a good hard look at their priorities,” Francis said. "I think you can find there's probably other people that need their assistance before he does.”
The Corrective Services minister stressed that there are other more worthwhile cases to be funding.
He said that he has “a lot of dads in my electorate that would love to have more access to their children following a breakdown of a marriage or a relationship,” for example.
“[There are] all kinds of issues that need addressing through our legal system far more importantly than a child molester, or the guy who put his kid up for it, having his sentence reduced,” Francis said.
The 42-year-old man has been sentenced to 22-and-a-half years in jail after pleading guilty to hundreds of charges related to the abuse of his daughter who’s now 14.
The man whose name has been suppressed to protect the victim even offered his daughter online for sex with other men while he watched or participated, ABC
Meanwhile, Legal Aid defended funding the appeal saying they “have no choice” since “the principle is that a person has full access to justice and that includes ensuring that the sentence they receive is appropriate in the eyes of the law.”
“It's understandable that members of the public might be outraged that people who've been convicted of extremely serious crimes, abhorrent crimes, receive this level of assistance … but the role of the Legal Aid Commission is to ensure people receive access to justice, full and proper access to justice,” said spokesman Malcolm Bradshaw.
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It’s “amazingly stupid” for Legal Aid to be funding the appeal of a convicted paedophile father who pleaded guilty to more than 220 charges related to the abuse of his young daughter.