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Man who murdered escort claimed £50,000 of taxpayer’s cash for legal fees

Published in The Press & Journal
19th April 2017


Aberdeen
More than £50,000 of taxpayer’s cash has been awarded to a murderer to help pay his legal fees. Bala Chinda was found guilty in January of raping and murdering escort Jessica McGraa in an Aberdeen flat. The 26-year-old Robert Gordon University student was unanimously found guilty after seven hours of deliberation by a jury. He was also convicted of rape by a majority verdict.

The Nigerian national had been in Aberdeen for just a few weeks when he killed Mrs McGraa.

Now new figures have revealed £50,260 has been paid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board for the 26-year-old’s legal expenses. Chinda was jailed for life, with a minimum of 18 years behind bars.

North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “It’s an important point that justice is available to all, that applies in this case as in every other. The public are bound to be concerned that the basis in which legal aid is given is a reasonable one. What this case highlights is the fact that legal aid can be available to everybody, no matter their background or circumstances.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Legal Aid Board said: “To ensure the justice system works properly, legal fees can be paid by legal aid in criminal proceedings if someone meets strict eligibility criteria set by the Scottish parliament. While certain high profile cases attract attention, legal aid helps large numbers of often vulnerable people get access to justice.”