Canberra criminal lawyer Stephen Raymond Stubbs in on trial for 15 dishonesty charges after it was alleged he accepted payments from a client while also receiving funds from Legal Aid.
The charges stem from a case in 2009, when Mr Stubbs represented Alexander Duffy, who was accused of conspiracy to murder, according to a report by the ABC.
He allegedly received $30,000 from Mr Duffy’s mother on a number of occasions, but he allegedly lodged a Legal Aid application for funds to the tune of $4,000 for the case in the same period.
The Canberra Times reported that Stubbs approached Legal Aid complaining about the “incredible amount of work in this matter with no assistance at all by the way of additional funding”, saying Mr Duffy’s mother was unable to pay because her “financial circumstances precluded her from doing so”.
The court heard that Ms Duffy never received invoices for the payments she sent to Mr Stubbs’ personal account, payments she would not have sent if she knew of the Legal Aid grant.
The court also heard that in 2009, Mr Stubbs sent an email in which he told the Legal Aid Commission there was inadequate funding to represent Mr Duffy and that he required payment for out-of-pocket expenses.
Prosecutor Katrina Mackenzie said at the trial on Monday that Mr Stubbs dishonestly received Legal Aid funds through deceit, saying he knew what his obligations were.
Defence lawyer Theresa Warwick asked the jury to “start from a place of innocence” when considering the evidence, and to consider whether the work might have been outside the parameters of the Legal Aid grants.
The trial is ongoing.