The Australian government provides legal aid to its citizens on trial when the cases take place abroad. The aid is offered through the Serious Overseas Criminal Matters scheme and is seemingly issued regardless of crimes committed. The aid is given to Australians at risk of having to serve a sentence of over 20 years or death penalty cases. Failure to choose what trials to aid has subjected the scheme to massive public criticism after it was involved in aiding the defense of criminals such as drug traffickers and pedophiles.
Peter Scully, 55, who is arguably the most infamous pedophile of all time was not left out; he received $500,000 in aid, all based from taxes paid by non-criminal citizens over a three years period. His crimes included charges of murder, rape, and torture of children in the Philippines. He received a life sentence in June for human trafficking and five counts of rape and sexual assault of underage girls. Scully faces 60 more charges for murder, abuse, and torture of children.
Scully who is as a father of two moved to the Philippines in 2011 fleeing fraud charges against him in a fraudulent property scheme in Melbourne, Australia.
After some time in the Philippines, he started taking advantage of underage children by enticing them with gifts and promises of good parenting, capturing them and using them to commit his heinous crimes.
He operated a child pornography site on the dark web where he posted videos of himself raping and torturing his victims. He went to the extent of making his victims dig their own grave. The videos earned him fortunes as viewers paid on a pay per view basis.
His disturbing crimes went unnoticed for a while until he posted a video titled Daisy’s Destruction. In this video Scully violently abused an underage child, this caught the attention of international law enforcement agencies who made it their mission to track him down. Dutch police were able to isolate the abuse to the Philippines; this helped in significantly reducing the search radius and Scully’s days as a free man.
Scully was successfully tracked down and arrested in February 2015 after two girls he had held hostage managed to escape and informed the Filipino police of his whereabouts. Months after his arrest the police unearthed the body of an 11-year-old girl under the floor of the house he was renting. According to the police, his arrest resulted in the seizure of computers and other electronic devices that carried data that has led to the arrest of pedophiles in other countries.
Scully had accomplices with whom he carried out the vile acts. Ann Alvarez and Liezyl Margallo were important role players in filming the videos and acquiring the children to be assaulted. Alvarez allegedly aided in the escape of the two girls out of guilt. She was sentenced alongside Scully in June.
The police investigating Scully’s case continue to view him as one of the most deranged pedophiles they have encountered. They believe he took his crimes too far and earned a fortune in the process.
Australian authorities are quite famous when it gets to dealing with pedophiles. In 2016, the Australian task force Argos operated a darknet child abuse forum for nearly a year. Assuming full control of the forum the task force kept everything up-to-date by posting child abuse images. All this was done with an aim of rounding up pedophiles from all over the world. Even though the operation resulted in many arrests and convictions, questions of whether the damage caused by the operation outweighed its necessity. The fact that the same government that ran a child abuse forum aided in the defense of a pedophile leaves questions over its true intentions in the entire operation.
The extent of Scully’s crimes and the revelation that he had received $500,000 in legal aid resulted in a massive public outcry in Australia, that prompted the Australian Attorney General to initiate a review into the program. The review is expected to result in a situation that leaves Scully with no legal aid. According to the Attorney General Scully is currently receiving zero support and the situation is expected to remain the same after the review.