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Australian taxpayers have funded $500,000 of legal assistance for former Melbourne businessman Peter Scully. Scully fled Australia in 2011 and later landed in custody in the Philippines for alleged human trafficking, murdering children, and distributing horrific child sexual abuse films on the darknet.
The Australian government has a program that provides legal assistance to Australians facing severe penalties in foreign countries but Attorney-General Christian Porter expressed his concern with continuing Scully’s legal aid. The program is the Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme. It helps Australians who face the death penalty or prison sentences of 20 years or longer.
If convicted for his crimes in the Philippines, Scully faces multiple life sentences. The government charged Scully with more than 75 counts of serious child abuse, human trafficking, producing and distributing child pornography, torture, rape, and even murder. Perhaps Scully’s most notorious piece of work is a video he produced with one or two of his female companions. The video featured a girl, only 18 months old, being brutally tortured and sexually assaulted. Prosecutor alleged that Scully sold this video on the darknet for up to $10,000 per person.
Although Scully denied all charges, the prosecution has witnesses lined up to testify against Scully. The media called this move despicable due to the incredibly traumatic experiences some of the women endured. Two of the girls, for instance, almost died after Scully kidnapped them, repeatedly raped them, and then forced them to dig their own graves after an attempted escape. They later managed to escape after weeks of imprisonment.
The prosecution also accused Scully of kidnapping an 11-year-old girl, raping her, holding her hostage, strangling her, and then burying her underneath an apartment in the Philippines that he had been renting while committing many of these brutal assaults. Many of Scully’s sadistic activities attracted an audience on the darknet where he allegedly sold front row seats to the abuse. He allegedly charged thousands of dollars for videos.
For the extreme depravity in Scully’s case, some taxpayers have not agreed with the government’s decision to provide Scully with ongoing legal aid. Attorney-General Christian Porter told The Australian that the Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme “is absolutely appropriate” in some cases and situations. “However, determinations in this case [Scully’s] were made prior to my becoming Attorney-General,” he added.
Attorney-General Porter explained that he is reviewing the program’s policies and may make amendments that could exclude Scully from receiving government funding. He has asked his department to review the program with Scully’s case in mind. The alterations would not exclusively prevent Scully from receiving aid, though. The Attorney-General said that the changes might prevent people with a history of serious sexual abuse crimes or crimes related to Scully’s case in particular.
The Australian government also wants Scully on charges related to previous fraudulent business deals leading up to 2011. The alleged pedophile fled to the Philippines in 2011 after learning he faced charges in Australia. Taxpayers, via the Serious Overseas Criminal Matters Scheme, have been paying for Scully’s legal defense since 2015. Between 2016 and 2017, according to The Australian, the government provided $1.1 million to Australians facing charges overseas. Almost half of that went to Scully during his 2015 lawyer struggles.