Sroubek's $18,000 legal aid loan

Author
Lucy Bennett,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Dec 2018, 6:33AM
Karel Sroubek paid back his legal aid for two criminal cases after using his house as security. Photo / NZME
Karel Sroubek paid back his legal aid for two criminal cases after using his house as security. Photo / NZME

Sroubek's $18,000 legal aid loan

Author
Lucy Bennett,
Publish Date
Mon, 10 Dec 2018, 6:33AM

Convicted drug smuggler Karel Sroubek was granted legal aid of more than $18,000 for two criminal cases under the fake identity he used to get into New Zealand.

The Justice Ministry has confirmed that Sroubek, who is facing deportation to the Czech Republic once he is released from prison in New Zealand, was granted legal aid in the name of Jan Antolik in 2009 and 2010 for legal representation for two criminal cases.

The total amount granted for the two cases was $18,369.75, using Sroubek's home as security.

Legal aid is a loan, and Sroubek had since paid back the amount in full, the ministry said.

High Court documents show Sroubek bought a house in 2009 for $490,000. He sold it in 2016.

The Ministry of Justice said it did not usually release information about someone's legal aid debt but in this case received permission from Sroubek's lawyer to advise that the legal aid was granted subject to a charge over Sroubek's property.

It also confirmed there were no active legal aid grants under either the name Sroubek or Antolik.

But civil legal aid could be granted for proceedings in the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

An application to the tribunal is being considered by Sroubek's lawyer after Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway's decision to reverse his original ruling that Sroubek could stay in New Zealand despite his criminal record and gang associations.

Sroubek is serving a prison term of more than five years for importing $375,000 worth of the party drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy.

His case has caused controversy after it emerged Lees-Galloway had decided to cancel his deportation liability and grant him residency despite his criminal convictions and gang connections.

Lees-Galloway more recently revisited that decision and reversed it on the basis of new information.

Sroubek's lawyer, Paul Wicks, QC, could not be reached for comment, but has previously said Sroubek would appeal against the decision to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.