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Alleged murderer of Milly Dowler receives millions in legal aid

Levi Bellfield, the convicted murderer who is currently on trial for the death of Milly Dowler has received a £2.2m worth of legal aid this far, the Mirror reports.

The amount includes the expenses for his defence for the murdering of Amelie Delagrange, 18, Marsha McDonnell, 19, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, then 18. He was convicted on all three counts.

A freedom of information request filed from the Mirror has revealed that the Milly trial has cost the taxpayer £201,396 so far. According to the Legal Services Commission, £124,566 of that amount was paid to Bellfield’s solicitors and £76,830 to one barrister.

The final figure of his legal aid may soar to even £2.5m, since the trial continues and there is a possibility of an appeal against conviction.

This comes at a time when the Government has unveiled plans to cut legal cover for abuse in the home. Bellfield’s legal bill is the equivalent of the court costs of 2,500 victims of domestic violence.

Governmental departments refuse to reveal correspondence with Prince

Following the recent scandal of Prince Charles’ secret vetoing of House of Commons bills, the Guardian reports that the justice, education and food and rural affairs departments invoked an exemption to freedom of information laws to conceal their correspondence with the prince. The Department for Communities and Local Government on the other hand, agreed to release letters relating to a local democracy, economic development and construction bill proposed to change laws about handling disputes and payments in building contracts and to introduce a new regional strategy for planning permissions

No re-elected or retiring MLAs receive hefty payments

Members of the Legislative Assemblyof Northern Ireland who left office last May have claimed almost £1 million in resettlement payments and winding-up allowances, The Irish News reports. A FoIA request revealed that £467,000 was paid for resettlement, £351,000 for the winding-up of office and just £130,000 for staff redundancies. As the newspaper mentions, the final figure paid to a total of 25 outgoing assembly members, may be higher since claim submissions end in November and the FoIA request released was related to the period up to October 4.

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