Silcott legal aid `a mockery'

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Indy Politics
Reports that the convicted murderer Winston Silcott was getting legal aid worth up to £100,000 to sue the Metropolitan Police "makes a mockery" of the system, a Tory MP said in the Commons yesterday. Silcott, who is serving a life sentence for killing a 22-year-old boxer, Anthony Smith, is said to be bringing the action following the quashing of his conviction for murdering Pc Keith Blakelock in the Broadwater Farm Estate riots in 1985. Silcott, 35, is reported to be suing the police for false imprisonment.

Raising the issue at question time, Michael Stephen, Tory MP for Shoreham, said the Legal Aid Board should be aware that Silcott had received £17,000 in compensation from the Home Office over the Blakelock case. He asked: "How can it be that people can give their money away to friends and relations, as Silcott has done, and then claim to be too poor to pay lawyers' fees? Surely that makes a mockery of the legal aid system?"

He asked the Lord Chancellor's Department minister, John Taylor, to confirm the reports that legal aid had been granted.

Mr Taylor told him: "Although I cannot comment on any individual case, I have no reason to believe Silcott's application was dealt with any differently to anybody else's."