m and rising, Abu Qatada legal aid bill: And fanatic gets new 450,000 home on the taxpayer
Cost of Qatada's legal bill 'still rises' as he continues to fight deportationJustice Minister Chris Grayling questions if cost is 'value for money'Preacher and family move into new rented home in London but landlady says she will try to evict him
Last month he won his latest appeal against deportation on terror charges
20:26 GMT, 16 December 2012
Hate preacher Abu Qatada, who has just moved into a new 450,000 taxpayer-funded home, has received more than 500,000 in legal aid.
The vast bill for funding the Al Qaeda fanatic’s decade-long legal battle against the British government was last night described as ‘sickening’ by a campaign group.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the payment of such large sums dented public confidence in the legal system.
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Qatada has received more than 500,000 in legal aid funding, it has emerged
It came amid complaints from Qatada’s
new landlady that she had been unaware of the identity of her tenant
when she agreed to let out her north London property, which is close to a
The property, let through an agency,
costs 1,400 a month – paid for by state handouts. Qatada moved in last
week after complaining his previous house, in north-west London, was not
big enough for his wife and four of his five children.
The owner of the
new property said: ‘I had no idea who was living there. I have read
about this man and why he was in prison, he does not seem like a nice
We signed a contract with the company for six months but
there is no way I would have given my permission to rent the house to a
man like that – not ever.’
Sprialling cost: Theresa May has vowed to continue to deport Qatada, pictured outside his home in November after being released on bail
Abu Qatada's new home in north London
Qatada, once described as Osama bin
Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, is fighting attempts to deport him to
his native Jordan where he is wanted on charges of terrorism.
removal is being blocked under human rights law amid concerns some of
the evidence which may be used against him could have been obtained by
He was freed from jail on strict bail
conditions last month, pending an appeal by the Home Secretary. Previous
estimates had placed his legal aid bill at less than 400,000.
But, in a
written Parliamentary answer, the Ministry of Justice revealed that, as
of December 5, the department had provided 515,778 in legal aid
funding to the cleric.
Ministers confirmed the total cost
will be higher, warning: ‘The legal services commission has not received
final claims from Abu Qatada’s solicitors.’ Mr Grayling said: ‘We must
never lose sight of the fact that legal aid is paid for by the taxpayer.
‘The total costs in some cases seem very high, and many – myself included – will question whether they provide value for money.’
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers’
Alliance, said: ‘Legal aid is there to ensure everyone has equal access
to justice, but it is sickening to see the extent to which this vile
hate preacher has been taking advantage of it.’
The total public bill for Qatada is
estimated to have now reached 3million. Keeping him in a maximum
security prison for more than eight years has cost the taxpayer an
The Home Office has confirmed its own
legal bill for trying to deport him has so far totalled 825,000.
Qatada’s home is monitored round-the clock by security staff at a cost
of 100,000 a week.
In 2009 the House of Lords ruled it
was safe to deport Qatada, but earlier this year the European Court of
Human Rights said he would not receive a fair trial. That verdict has
since been upheld by British immigration judges.
A satellite dish is removed from the hate preacher's old home
Removal men were seen outside the radical cleric's north-West London home, loading possessions, including a large satellite dish and what looked like a personal cross-trainer, into a van
'SPLIT' ON HUMAN RIGHTS
A panel set up by David Cameron to end abuse of human rights law is tomorrow expected to produce a ‘disappointing and vague’ report of little use to ministers.
The Commission on a Bill of Rights is said to be deeply split. It contains senior Labour and Lib Dem figures who are resistant to any serious reform of the last government’s Human Rights Act.
Some members are understood to be pushing for even more human rights to be enshrined in legislation.
The Prime Minister had originally pledged to scrap the Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights, which would stop the system being a charter for criminals and those who refused to work. But, after being forced into a coalition with the Lib Dems, he had to downgrade his pledge.
Instead, he established the commission to decide the best way forward. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, who quit the panel in protest over its lack of direction, warned of the likelihood of an underwhelming final product.
The academic said: ‘Several of my former colleagues on the commission have warned me not to hold my breath and to expect a disappointing and vague report.
‘If the commission makes a majority recommendation – as seems likely – that there should in principle be a new British Bill of Rights, the report may do little more than set out alternative options as to the contents.’
VIDEO: Qatada was released from jail in November…
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