Australian taxpayers have funded $500,000 of legal aid for Peter Scully, who is awaiting trial for murdering and raping young girls.
The disgraced former Melbourne businessman denies the allegations against him as it emerged public money has been spent on his defence since his arrest in 2015.
The legal aid is funded through a government controlled support scheme for Australians facing prosecution overseas.
The Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme aims to assist defendants who could be sentenced to the death penalty or jail terms of more than 20 years.
But the scheme is under review by Attorney-General, Christian Porter, The Australian has reported.
He told the newspaper: “There are circumstances where such support is absolutely appropriate.
“However, determinations in this case were made prior to my becoming Attorney-General.
“I had already asked my department for information on the scheme, including this particular case, with a view to considering changes.”
Mr Porter said alterations to the scheme could include circumstances “similar to Mr Scully” or those with a history of sex offending and other “relevant” previous convictions.
Figures published by The Australian said in 2016-17 there was more than $1.1 million paid out to Australian citizens.
The total number of defendants facing charges overseas using the funds was not disclosed.
Scully fled Australia in 2011 pending charges relating to his alleged involvement in a home buyer fraud.
He is now accused of producing and distributing vile footage of extreme child abuse on the dark web.
One such film, called Daisy’s Destruction, is alleged to show a baby girl being tied upside down by her feet, sexually assaulted and physically tortured.
The little girl, who was aged about 18 months at the time, survived the ordeal but is said to still be suffering physical and mental torment.
Scully is accused to selling the videos to perverts across the world for $10,000 each.
He is also accused of raping a 12-year-old girl before strangling her and burying her underneath a house in Surigao.
In separate charges, Scully is also accused of tying up two teenage girls and leaving them naked at an apartment he rented.
Scully, who is facing multiple life terms if convicted, has denied all 75 charges against him. For this reason, his alleged victims will be forced to face him in court to give evidence against him.
As we have previously reported, Scully’s lawyer quit after saying his client was treating prison like a hotel and demanding VIP treatment.
Although he has been behind bars since February 2015, there has been no indication as to when his trial will start.
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